September is National Family Meal month and this means it’s an opportune time to look at the way we practice meals at home on a daily/weekly basis. What used to be a basic activity is now a seemingly rare occurrence in the busy world of today.
Research has shown that participation in a family meal yields more positive outcomes for children and draws families closer, creating an environment of comfort. Eating together as a family 2-3 times a week consistently lent the best results overall for children, providing an atmosphere of stability. These are also precious times to pray together and talk about the activities of the day or share from the heart.
According to a 2012 Cornell University study, here are some benefits to children who take part in family meal time:
Less likely to be overweight
More likely to eat healthy foods
Have greater academic achievement
Have improved psychological well-being
Enjoy positive family interactions
In the following article, author Jim Burns shares 7 positive outcomes of sitting down to a family meal, “Kids who live in families that eat dinner together regularly are less likely to be involved in at risk behaviors. According to the 2000 study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), children who don’t eat dinner with their families are 61 percent more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. By contrast, children who eat dinner with their families every night of the week are 20 percent less likely to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs.”
As we recognize National Family Meal month, let’s turn off the TV and be intentional with our dinnertime as a family. If dinnertime doesn’t work, try morning breakfasts. Include prayer time and allow each family member to take a turn. The relational, psychological, spiritual and physical benefits are worth every bite.