Eat Better Together Month

With multiple jobs, sports practices, school and homework piling up, it can be challenging to find time for the whole family to sit down and share a meal. Sometimes, it just seems to make sense to let everyone “fend for themselves” in the kitchen.  But what if you knew it could make the difference in your child’s health? In their school performance? In their future success?

The fact is, children in families that find the time to eat together, drink more milk and eat more fruits and veggies. These children are less likely to become obese, and more likely to have higher grades and a larger vocabulary. Having a daily meal together can also help families feel closer and communicate better with each other throughout the day.

Family meals aren’t only beneficial for small children. Studies show that teens who eat regularly with their parents are less likely to drink alcohol, use other drugs or have poor eating habits as an adult.

How can families fit in meals despite their busy schedules?   

Start by planning to have a family meal together one day a week. Make it part of the schedule!  If finding time to prepare meals during the week is the problem, dedicate a few hours each weekend to planning, shopping and prepping meals for the week. Choose recipes like casseroles that can be put together ahead of time and refrigerated. This way on the day you planned to eat it all you have to do is bake! Other good options are soups or stir-fries where all the peeling, chopping and portioning can be done ahead of time.

You may have to cut back on some other activities to prioritize eating together.  Saying no to other commitments is perfectly ok.  Making your family a priority is very important.

Check out the recipe section on the Eat Smart website, pick one and get prepared to make family meals part of your daily routine. October is “Eat Better Together Month”.  Give it a try, you’ll be happy you did.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall