The family meal is a central part of life for many of us. We’re constantly reminded of its role in the nuclear family and how the family who eats together will stay together. So, why is this the case and what are the benefits of the family meal?
In this day and age, where everything seems to pass by in a blur, and time is something many of us wish we had; the family meal is very important. Making time to eat together as a whole family allows mother, father and children to spend time together, catch up and bond as a family, who enjoys each others company.
This allows each and everyone to share their stories from the day, while allowing them to ask questions and seek advice from other members of the family in an informal and relaxed setting.
For children, the family meal is something that allows parents, who are often rushed off their feet, to show an interest. Parents can listen to children’s hopes, stories and issues and advise them on what is best.
Family meals also provide a chance to build children’s self-esteem. Children can tell their parents their achievements and things that are often overlooked in the daily rush. Such factors will improve a child as a person and also works the other way. Children who have high self-esteem and good relationships with their parents, have often more respect for their parents and are happier individuals.
Children with high self-esteem are likely to perform better at school, have better grades, more friends and also are less likely to partake in illicit activities, such as underage drinking, or drug taking.
This all comes together to create happier individuals and a pleasant family unit.
Sitting down and eating together as a family allows each person to eat a healthy square meal. As a family, you may find that you are rushing from here to there, grabbing food on the go.
Digestion is aided by slowly eaten, well chewed meals. Sitting down for a set period and eating a meal aids this and allows your stomach to perform its full functions.
Family meals are often a lot healthier than rushed meals. This is because they are prepared at home and offer a meal full of nutrients and vitamins. Vegetables, fresh meats and other foods aid this healthy diet.
For adults many are less likely to drink at meal times, if they are eaten with children, this has a positive effect on health and well being.
For children having a set family meal creates rules and boundaries – something which children thrive on. These meals create good habits, which are taken into the future and in turn lead to children implementing such habits when they have family.
A family meal also reduces the incidence of children snacking and binging on foods that offer little nutritional value and cause obesity. This creates a healthier diet, which is proven to have benefits at school, for well being and in extracurricular activities.
For adults and children alike, the physical, psychological and esteem benefits of a meal together are significant enough to warrant making the effort.