Nothing can bring people together like food. Eating together gives the opportunity to communicate, connect, and bond with those around you. This is why mealtimes have been an important part of human history. Traditionally, mealtimes served as small family get-togethers, where people would come together, interact, share, and catch up with their loved ones over home-cooked food.
Sadly, many of us lost this tradition over time. Today, family mealtime is a rare occurrence in many households.
However, several research studies have found that family meals can offer great benefits. Following are some of the science-backed reasons why you should readopt the traditional practice of eating together as a family or hold on to it tightly if the practice is still prevalent in your household:
· They Help Build Strong Family Units
Eating together gives a sense of belonging and a great opportunity (to elders) to transmit family and cultural norms, values, and traditions to the younger generation. Family meals also help strengthen the bond between family members by giving them the opportunity to spend some time together every day, talk, and share things.
· They Help Raise Healthier, Happier, and Smarter Kids
It may seem a far-fetched claim, but research has proved that family mealtimes are the most beneficial for children. They can have far-reaching impacts on kids’ health, psychology, confidence, and even their knowledge and performance in school. On average, children who regularly eat with parents have better communication skills, know six times more rare words, and also score better in schools.
Families that eat together also tend to have emotionally stronger, more stable, and happier kids. They are found to be less stressed and less likely to engage in destructive habits, like drugs and alcohol. Having meals with their families also has an impact on kids’ mental health and reduces their chances of being depressed by facilitating open communications and healthier relationships.
· They Help Develop Better Eating Habits
Eating together also helps develop or improve eating habits. According to a research study from Harvard, families that eat together are twice as likely to eat healthy, balanced meals as those who do not. They are also more likely to consume the recommended five servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
Eating together has also been found to help make children less picky in their food choices and decrease the risk for obesity among them.
The Final Word
Harvard Graduate School of Education says that only about 30% of families eat together regularly. Reclaim the dying family tradition and make it a point that your family comes together to eat at least once a day to experience these and a plethora of other benefits of family meals.