Family meals are a tradition that can make relationships within a family much stronger. But while it was once standard practice to eat together as a family every night, it doesn’t always seem as feasible these days.
Lack of time and too many daily activities can make it hard for families to eat together on a regular basis, but this fall, Brunswick Crossing wants to provide you with some ways that you can find time to sit down as a family and enjoy a nice meal at least a few times a week.
October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month, which encourages families to gather around the table together at mealtime in order to build family bonding and make more balanced food choices. Now through Halloween, the families of Brunswick Crossing can take advantage of this campaign by celebrating Eat Better, Eat Together Month with their loved ones.
Family meals provide a great opportunity for family members to socialize, exchange ideas, and share stories about their day. But better communication within the family isn’t the only benefit. Family meals can also help improve a family’s social skills overall, as it gives everyone a chance to power down their devices and engage with each other face-to-face while they eat.
Here are some ways that you can find the time to get together for family meals:
- Make weekend breakfast dates. Get the whole family involved in setting the table, mixing batter, cutting fruit, and the entire meal process, all the way through cleaning up.
- Put together a schedule to have a family-meal night at least once a week where everyone has to get together for dinner no matter what, no exceptions. Family members can even take turns planning and cooking meals.
- Eat together either before or after any evening events. Meal prepping on weekends or using a slow cooker to make meals while you’re at work can help on busy weeknights.
- Keep easy-meal ingredients handy. For unexpected nights where you find time to have a family meal, have some eggs, pasta, or canned soups lying around so that you can whip up a meal for the family rather quickly.
Getting to spend more time with family and improved social skills are just two of the scientifically proven reasons to eat dinner as a family, but perhaps the most important benefit of family meals is that they typically lead to healthier and broader food choices for all involved.
A study in the Archives of Family Medicine found that nine to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently consumed more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients like calcium, iron, and fiber. In the study’s findings, Matthew W. Gillman, MD, the survey’s lead researcher, noted that family dinners allow for both "discussions of nutrition [and] provision of healthful foods." Opening up the discussion about healthy foods provides parents with opportunities to expose their children to a broader diet and expand their pallet.
Family meals are one of the easiest ways for kids to learn how to eat a healthy diet. Eating one yourself regularly, in front of them increases the chances that they will follow in your footsteps.
The Marketplace at Brunswick Crossing is a lively hub of community life where you and your family can go to enjoy a delicious family meal together. Situated right on Route 17 and designed to be within walking and biking distance of every Brunswick Crossing home, The Marketplace has an excellent mix of restaurants as well as a Weis Markets where you can pick up ingredients to cook your family meal at home.