Everybody Does Better with Family Meals

Ellyn Satter
October 7, 2009

You know that family meals are important, and the research backs up what you know. Adults who have regular meals eat better, are healthier and are slimmer. Children and adolescents who have regular family meals do better nutritionally, socially, emotionally, academically and with respect to resistance to excess weight gain, drug abuse and early sexual behavior. In fact, family meals have more to do with positive outcome in children than family income, whether the child has one or two parents living in the home, after-school activities, tutors, or church. But today's families are increasingly likely to eat on the run than have meals together, especially as children move through the teen years.

Here are some additional reasons it is important to hold the line with family meals:

  • Meals support adults' and children's ability to learn to like and enjoy a variety of food.
  • Going to the table hungry and eating until satisfied is key to eating the amount of food needed to maintain appropriate body weight.
  • Meals give a reliable opportunity to do the work of the family: Checking in, giving emotional support, keeping up with what's going on with family members.
  • Meals allow food to keep its place as only one of life's great pleasures. You pay attention and enjoy it when it is time to eat, forget about it between times.     

For more information, visit Ellyn Satter's Facebook page.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    Yes there should realize the opportunity to RSS commentary, quite simply, CMS is another on the blog.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    Family meal time is the best time for families to talk. The challenge for most families is finding ways to create meaningful conversation. Parents are tired and generally ask their kids the same question "What did you to today" and kids generally say "Nothign". Rather than having great discussion, the focus moves on from family to food and then everyone goes their separate ways. I thought about our family routines and created TalkMats to help familes have real conversation during dinner. TalkMats make conversations appear natural, not forced like a box of cards do. Plus the objective isn't to answer a bunch of questions but find a question that leads to a variety of conversations. We have received some much positive feedback from familes. Check them out at www.talkmats.com

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    Hey Cleveland Moms! Would you like to meet Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson, Sara Moulton, or Cat Cora!? And do you have a healthy recipe you would like to share with people? You should join the Aetna Healthy Food Fight at healthyfoodfight.com . The contest is coming to Cleveland! on September 11-12, but the deadline to sign up is September 8th. Good luck to all who decide to enter!

    over a year ago

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