Research suggests that children who regularly participate in family mealtime are less likely to be overweight, develop poor eating habits, depression, alcohol or substance dependencies and are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables and perform better academically. Research also suggests that kids who eat meals regularly with their family are more likely to enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Family mealtime should be a time to relax and unwind from the day, a time to laugh and have fun as a family, while enjoying a delicious and nutritious meal. Try these tips for making family mealtime fun and successful:
5 Tips to a healthy and successful family mealtime:
- Involve your Family
Ask your family to choose a new healthy dish to try or have them help in the kitchen by mixing the ingredients together. Getting your family involved in preparing the meal can help them feel more ownership, which will encourage them to try a new healthy dish!
- Be Adventurous
Take your family to the grocery store to pick out a fruit or vegetable they have never tried before. Find a new healthy recipe using your fresh produce and prepare it in a recipe! You may just find a favorite food while getting many added nutrients. Here's some helpful information about what produce is in season right now!
- Set an Example
Show your family that you are willing to eat a variety of healthy foods. Children typically carry eating habits they learn from an early age into adulthood, so encourage healthy habits! Set a positive, healthy example for your family at mealtime by eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean protein.
- Make Mealtime Fun
Encourage your family to participate in mealtime by making it fun. Create a weekly dinner ritual, such as Taco Tuesday nights or "bring a friend on Thursday" nights. You could even plan a themed meal for the week such as "taste the world" and have an Italian night, Chinese night, Mexican night and a Caribbean night. Instead of ordering pizza or buying a frozen pizza, make your own personal pizzas! Here are some fun and healthy recipes you can try!
- Make Mealtime Family Time
Use family mealtime as a special time to spend with each other. Talk about your day and ask about theirs. Find out about new school projects or upcoming events. Studies suggest that dinner conversation can even be a vocabulary booster for children. Make it positive and fun by telling funny stories and asking questions like "if you could have a super power, what would it be?." Create a positive and healthy atmosphere to establish a healthy mealtime habit your children will want to continue throughout their life!