[Wellbeing & You] Is Family Mealtime Making a Comeback?
September is American National Family Meals Month™, an industry-wide movement to raise awareness of the benefits of frequent family meals to encourage families to eat at least one meal together at home per week. Family mealtime has long been a precious tradition of our culture, which plays a fundamental role of strengthening ties and relationships among family. Such time of union has become rare owing to an increasingly busy schedules of both parents and children. There are plenty of evidence suggesting the importance and the benefits of family mealtime. Let us waver not and join hands to bring this fading tradition back to life.
A family meal a day keeps the doctor away!
The health benefits of family mealtime:
- Cultivate healthy eating habit–the love for vegetables and fruit!
Study by the University of Leeds found that children who always ate a family meal consumed 125g more fruit and vegetables than children who never ate with their families. Also, children who ate only once or twice a week consumed 95g more fruit and vegetables than those who never ate together.
- Improve nutritional health and reduce the intake of unhealthy food.
Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows that the benefits of sharing 3 or more family mealtimes per week include a reduction in the odds for overweight by 12%, eating unhealthy foods by 20% and disordered eating by 35% and an increase in the odds for eating healthy foods by 24%.
Tips to bring family mealtimes back to home.
- Start with simple menu – Sautéed Potato, steamed fish or egg.
- Don’t forget the main purpose – Mealtime conversations.
- Create family meals with a theme – e.g. countries (Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Thai and etc.)
Ref: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), FMI Foundation, National Family Meals MonthTM, University of Leeds.