The benefits of eating together
The state of affairs -
In the US, the majority of families barely eat one meal together more than four or five days a week.
What is this doing to us? - These worrying habits are growing in countries all over the world and have a demonstrably negative impact on both our physical and mental health.
The effects on children - One survey suggested that students who don’t eat with their parents regularly are much more likely to skip school.
Weight issues - In terms of physical health, children who don’t eat with their parents at least twice a week are 40% more likely to be overweight than those who do.
Mental health -
What’s more, children who eat with their parents five or more days a week, report having closer relationships with their parents.
Benefits for every age -
The mental and physical advantages of eating together are endless, and this also apply to people of all ages.
Better eating habits for children - Adolescents who eat with their families regularly have been shown to consume more fruits and vegetables and less fast food and soft drinks.
Reduces issues with weight in adulthood - Naturally, if we’re eating more home-cooked meals and less fast food, it has a positive impact on our diet and health.
Reduces psychological issues -
One study showed that young female participants were particularly likely to see psychological benefits from regular family meals.
Eating alone is alienating - There are so many benefits to eating with others, such as helping us to feel more connected and allowing us to build communities in our lives.
Improve self-esteem -
Once they’re at the table, it’s important to encourage them to talk about their day and genuinely listen.
Improves relationships -
We might start off talking about surface-level things like schoolwork or weekend plans, but it opens up space to touch on more personal topics.
Healing after bullying - However, the teens who had been bullied but ate dinner with their parents regularly experienced fewer problems stemming from the bullying.
It's not so easy - It’s easy to see how this happens when parents might be working multiple jobs at all hours and fast food has become so affordable and convenient.