I’m so grateful to Jane Sandwood for this post. Jane’s experience as Life Coach taught her that living a healthy, happy, and successful life is far more than just giving up the bad habits and being a good weight. It’s actually all about balance. Feeling happy and healthy within yourself can have such a huge impact on all aspects of your life. From studying, to your career, relationships and overall fitness. Balance is key. Jane has generously developed this article: 5 Reasons We Should Gather Around the Family Dinner Table to highlight the importance of getting together, sharing a meal together and the wide variety of benefits it brings
According to the Washington Post, eating alone is one of the most ‘American’ things there is and about 60 percent of US citizens eat alone on a daily basis. This is because people are busier than ever and taking the time to sit down and eat is becoming almost a hindrance to our fast-paced lifestyle. However, eating alone may be doing more harm than you think. Here are some of the benefits of “The Art of Gathering” and why we should come together to eat as a family.
Healthier Food Choices
The act of eating together is associated with healthier food choices and a healthy balanced lifestyle. According to a survey conducted in 2000, children between the ages of nine and fourteen that ate dinner with their families ate more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fatty foods. They were also more likely to have necessary nutrients in their diets such as vitamin C, calcium, iron, and fiber, compared to kids who did not eat with their families on a regular basis. One of the reasons for this is because when people eat together, they tend to rely less on ready-made dinners, frozen dinners, and eating out.
Relieve Stress & Forge Better Relationships
We need to take time out of our busy schedule to sit down as a family and chat about our day. The dinner table is a great place to rewind and Brigham Young University found that sitting down for a family meal can reduce the stress related to long hours at work. It also creates a feeling of security and a sense of belonging for children. 71 percent of teenagers actually enjoy catching up with their families during dinner and these teens are 1.5 times more likely to have an excellent relationship with their family.
Encourages Children at School
There are many studies that have shown that the act of gathering for family dinners has a significant impact on academic performance. According to a report conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), children who eat 5-7 family dinners per week are twice as likely to receive As and Bs in school. Only 9 percent of teenagers who consistently eat dinners with their family did poorly in school.
Protects Children from Peer Pressure
The dinner table is where many kids learn about morals, values, and what is essentially right or wrong. This allows them to become immune to pressures eminating from outside of the family. A CASA report found that teens who have less than three family meals a week are 3 times more likely to have used marijuana, 3.5 times more likely to have used another drug, 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol.
Saves Money and Calories
According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor, we spend about $4.50 on every meal in the kitchen compared to $8 per meal when we eat outside of our home. This gives us more money in our pockets to enjoy other things in life. Also, the average restaurant meal contains about 60 percent more calories than a meal cooked at home, so eating at home as a family allows many people to stick to their diet regiments.
So it’s time to quit eating on the go, or eating alone, and start coming together as a family around the dinner table.