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A Better Family Life: 8 Ways Eating Together Builds Stronger Families

by Alexis Rodrigo

Are you longing for a better family life? Here’s an idea that is so simple, yet it can make your family healthier, help the children do better in school, and reduce Mommy’s stress. The answer is: family dinners.

Various studies have shown that family dinners have many benefits. The following benefits were reported in studies that looked at families who eat together at least three nights a week:

1. From the Archives of Family Medicine: Families who eat together tend to consume more calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamin B6, B12, C and E. Home-cooked meals are healthier.

2. From the Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Children in families that eat together tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, while eating fewer snack foods. Children make better eating choices.

3. From the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: Children in families who eat dinner together have a reduced tendency to become overweight.

4. From a Lou Harris-Reader’s Digest National Poll: In families that eat together, children get better grades than children in families that don’t share family meals.

5. From a Lou Harris-Reader’s Digest National Poll: Children in families who have dinners together report being happier and having more positive attitudes about the future.

6. From Harvard University: Children in families that eat together have better language skills compared to children in families that don’t have family dinners.

7. From Columbia University: Teenagers in families that have family dinners are less likely to be using drugs, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcoholic beverages

8. From the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal: In families that frequently have family dinners, Moms who work out side the house report feeling less stressed

The researchers attributed these benefits to various factors. For one thing, home-cooked meals are usually healthier – lower in calories while higher in nutrition – compared to fast food or restaurant meals. Another factor is the human tendency to eat less when eating with others rather than eating alone. Finally, family dinners give family members the chance to interact, check in with each other, and update each other about their lives. No wonder families thrive when they eat together!

With today’s busy lifestyles, it is impossible for most families to have dinner together every night. In this case, it is important to make time for shared meals – not just dinners – as often as possible. In addition, engage in other family activities that enhance interaction and personal sharing, such as bedtime rituals and storytelling. Personal interaction in a relaxed and safe environment is the essence of family meals.
About the Author

Alexis Rodrigo is a stay at home Mom of 3 who loves to cook. You will have time to cook with her free quick dinner recipes at and get more family and parenting resources

Don’t Watch This! It Will Make You Stop Eating Fast Food

Fitting a decent meal into a modern schedule can seem nearly impossible. Making room for fresh air and exercise is almost as hard. According to experts almost two-thirds of Americans are seriously overweight or obese. The childhood Obesity epidemic has doubled how many obese children there are in America in the last twenty years. This trend will lead to big trouble for children. We all most make a concerted effort to change the way we eat, change the way we view food and change the sedentary lifestyle that we live.

Here’s a film that may have been “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for me, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock makes himself a test subject in this documentary about the commercial food industry, specifically McDonalds.

Fast food facts from the Super Size Me Web site

* Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant
* In 1972, we spent 3 billion a year on fast food – today we spend more than $110 billion
* McDonald’s feeds more than 46 million people a day – more than the entire population of Spain
* French fries are the most eaten vegetable in America
* You would have to walk for seven hours straight to burn off a Super Sized Coke, fry and Big Mac
* In the U.S., we eat more than 1,000,000 animals an hour
* 60 percent of all Americans are either overweight or obese
* One in every three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime
* Left unabated, obesity will surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in America
* Obesity has been linked to: Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, Adult Onset Diabetes, Stroke, Gall Bladder Disease, Osteoarthritis, Sleep Apnea, Respiratory Problems, Endometrial, Breast, Prostate and Colon Cancers, Dyslipidemia, steatohepatitis, insulin resistance, breathlessness, Asthma, Hyperuricaemia, reproductive hormone abnormalities, polycystic ovarian syndrome, impaired fertility and lower back pain
* The average child sees 10,000 TV advertisements per year
* Only seven items on McDonald’s entire menu contain no sugar
* Willard Scott was the first Ronald McDonald – he was fired for being too fat
* McDonald’s distributes more toys per year than Toys-R-Us
* Diabetes will cut 17-27 years off your life
* McDonald’s: “Any processing our foods undergo make them more dangerous than unprocessed foods”
* The World Health Organization has declared obesity a global epidemic
* Eating fast food may be dangerous to your health
* McDonald’s calls people who eat a lot of their food “heavy users”
* McDonald’s operates more than 30,000 restaurants in more then 100 countries on 6 continents
* Before most children can speak they can recognize McDonald’s
* Surgeon General David Satcher: “Fast food is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic”
* Most nutritionists recommend not eating fast food more than once a month
* 40 percent of American meals are eaten outside the home
* McDonald’s represents 43% of total U.S. fast food market