September is right around the corner and has been named National Family Meals Month by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). This educational program of the FMI underscores the benefits of family meals - and there are many! Studies provide significant, scientific proof about the positive, lifelong benefits of family meals.
According to author Miriam Weinstein in her book, The Surprising Power of Family Meals, “Family meals are like a magic bullet – something that improves the quality of your daily life, your children’s chances of success in the world, and your family’s health. Something that is inexpensive, simple to produce, and within the reach of pretty much everyone.”
Here are some of the powerful benefits of eating together as a family from the FMI’s family meal website:
• Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem and delayed sexual activity.
• Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness, and respect.
• With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
• Kids and teens who share meals with their family three or more times per week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders.
Kids who cook are more likely to eat and enjoy the food they prepare. And cooking reinforces skills such as math and science. As the new school year begins, remember the family that eats together, stays healthy together. As FMI points out, family meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members.
For more nutrition information, recipes and more, visit these websites:
FMI Family Meals website - https://www.fmi.org/family-meals-month
Kids Cook Monday website - http://www.thekidscookmonday.org/
Kids Eat Right website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – www.kidseatright.org
For more information about upcoming programs at WMHS, visit www.wmhs.com or call Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, FAND, Outpatient Community Dietitian at 240-964-8416.