October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month. That is a time for families to eat together. According to Washington State University making time to eat together is not only important to the family unit, the meals tend to be more nutritious. There are even more benefits including:

  • Children do better in school and have fewer behavior problems
  • Teenagers are less likely to use alcohol or drugs
  • Communication between children and adults improves
  • Children better understand their families values and traditions
  • Children and teenagers appreciate the sharing of information about other family members activities and the opportuity to laugh together

Sitting at the table should be a pleasure time, not a battlefield. I advise parents of young children to encourage good eating habits by example. Take time to savor the aromas, the appearance of the food and the textures as well as the flavors. Enjoy and appreciate the preparation of the food as a part of the experience. Keep conversations positive and include everyone at the table. This allows for improved digestion.

Eating together doesn’t mean the meals have to be fancy. It is about the time together that counts! Not sure if you can fit eating together into your hectic schedule? Below are some ideas to help you get started.

How to Start to Eat Better, Eat Together

  1. Ease into it: Try setting a goal of eating together once or twice a week.
  2. Start simple: Prepare a meal ahead of time. Just store it in the fridge until it’s time to reheat and eat it!
  3. Create calm: Phones, TV, computer, video games and even the radio can interrupt your meal. Turning them all off will help everyone relax.
  4. Get everyone involved: Let your family help you shop, choose their favorite dinner, set the table and make the meal.
  5. Relax and connect: Talk about problems after dinner.

Include all of the family in planning and preparing meals. It adds to the fun when each person has a specialty they can contribute. However you find the way to fit eat together, eat better into your family, give it a try. You will discover the many benefits of a family meal. Make eat better, eat together a year long practice!