Family dinners are too often replaced with schedule conflicts, on-the-go meals and opting to eat while watching TV instead. While it’s easy to brush off the need to eat dinner with loved ones, there are a lot of great health and developmental benefits that come with making family dinners a priority in the household. Growing up in a traditional Italian family, Sunday dinners were mandatory every week, and while my nine-year-old self may have nagged that I’d rather “watch my Disney channel shows” instead, I am very grateful for the benefits this has had on my family and the tight-knit bonds that I’ve developed because of these meals.
Family Dinners will…
Strengthen Your Family Bonds
Prioritizing time to catch-up and discuss everybody’s day is a great way to grow closer and have an open, knowledgeable relationship about each family member’s lives. Learning about important topics such as what your kids are studying in school or about their developing interests demonstrates how much your family values and cares about what everybody is doing on a daily basis. Family dinners also help develop strong communication skills and help instill a strong sense of security and belonging for younger family members, often resulting in closer relationships within the family.
Boost Your Family’s Nutrition
Having family dinners means having more control over the type of food that is being served. Whether the food is homemade or bought elsewhere, providing nutritious meals for your family that are equipped with fruits and vegetables will help cut out unhealthy options like fried foods and carbonated drinks. Having family dinners also gives you the ability to have better control over the portion sizes that are being served. This will help cut down risks for obesity, and will create healthier eating habits in your family.
Help Save Money
Staying in and cooking meals at home will help you save money and cut down on the major food expenses that start to seriously add up. Going out to restaurants and ordering take-out multiple times a week puts an unnecessary pricy bill on the table, and makes eating feel like more of an expensive burden than an enjoyable experience. If everyone in the family plans to eat the same homemade meal, you’ll be able to spend less while gaining more time with your loved ones.
Increase Your Happiness and Decrease Your Stress!
Research conducted by Brigham Young University discovered that family dinners helped decrease stress induced by work-related matters, especially for mothers, as it helps relieve the tension that manifests from long days at the office. Other findings from a study done in Minnesota unearthed that family meals helped increase the happiness and overall well-being of family members, especially in adolescents. It is believed that family dinners will help increase your family’s overall connectedness. Having strong family connectedness is positively correlated with better mental health, lower stress levels and positive youth development, as it provides routine and consistency for adolescents. Eating together may help boost your mood while having positive effects on your family’s mental and physical health!