Healthy Children - February 2018

 Healthy Eating at Home

The Importance of Family Meals

  • Family meals improve dietary quality and promote healthy weight
    • Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, calcium-rich foods, protein, iron, fiber, and Vitamins A, C, E, B-6 and folate
    • Lower intake of soft drinks and snack foods
  • Family meals lower risk-taking behaviors
    • Kids who eat dinner with their families 5 times a week or more are least likely to take drugs, feel depressed, or get in trouble
  • Family meals improve family relationships and emotional health
    • Emotionally content and positive peer relationships
    • Work harder in school
    • Improved family communication and stronger family ties
  • Family meals improve academic performance
    • Improved vocabularies and reading skills
    • Improved achievement test scores
    • Higher grades

The research has shown that those who regularly have meals with their parents eat more fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods, ingest more vitamins and nutrients, and consume less junk food. Some of the research has shown that kids who regularly sit down to a family meal are at a lower risk for behaviors like smoking and drug and alcohol use, have a stronger family relationship and improved academic performance.