Family Meals Give Us More Than Just Healthier Eating

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension image

It is known that families who eat meals together eat more healthy fruits and vegetables as well as have healthier drinks like milk.  But the family meal has also been linked to other benefits.  The University of Minnesota conducted a study and program called Project EAT (Eating Among Teens).  They studied and worked with adolescents and their families.  What they found out was that the adolescents who ate more meals with their families, seven or more meals per week, had higher grade-point averages and were more adjusted than the adolescents who ate the fewest meals with their families, two or fewer meals per week.  They were less likely to feel depressed or suicidal, to smoke cigarettes or use alcohol or marijuana.  The adolescents, especially the girls, who ate more meals with their families were also less likely to have disordered eating such as binge eating and extreme weight-loss diets. 

Our lives have become hectic with all the activities and work responsibilities that our families have, but it is important to take the time to socialize and share during healthy family meals.  It doesn’t have to be big meals, benefits such as those found by Project EAT are gained even if we are just sitting down to sandwiches and pre-prepared salads.  Join others on Monday September 25th for Table Night.  This is a night where families are encouraged to gather together and eat dinner.  For more information on Project EAT go to   http://www.epi.umn.edu/research/eat/ or for tips on planning meals at home or educational programs for the community call Cathy Hohenstein at 255-5522.