With work, school, extracurricular activities, athletics, and the demand of modern life, it’s not easy to find time to enjoy a quiet supper with your entire family. But study after study reveals that when families eat an evening meal together, kids are more likely to do well in school, stay away from tobacco, drugs, and alcohol; and talk with you more. As a bonus, everyone is more likely to eat healthier, a key behavior in avoiding obesity and weight-related health issues.
This is particularly true for teenagers, but that’s just when it gets even harder to get the family together. So how do you do it? Start small: Aim for 2 times a week. Then, plan a menu: Whole-wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce and steamed broccoli makes a delicious, quick, and inexpensive meal. Finally, set some ground rules: no TV, cell phones, video games, or other electronic distractions during the meal.
You can choose to invite friends, or keep it to just your immediate family. Have conversation, reconnect with your family during a special time set aside just for each other.
With so much going on, it’s not always possible to focus on the most important people in our lives. But with a little effort, commitment, and spaghetti, the benefits are worth it.
American Cancer Society, December, 2011