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Why Dinner May Be the Most Important Meal of the Day

By Sandy Schroeder

We all want our families to be healthy and contented, but we may be ignoring the most important spot in the day. Regular family dinners may be the most powerful way to help kids stay healthy and happy, according to Harvard Health mental and physical health specialists.

Take a Look at How It Works

The Washington Post outlined how much dinner can do.

Brain, body and spirit thrive – One family therapist said, “I often have the impulse to tell families to go home and have dinner together rather than spending an hour with me. Sitting down for a nightly meal keeps kids healthy, alert and in touch.”

Dinner creates a daily connection – In our fast moving society, families may never have a chance to just sit and talk unless they make one. With classes, sports, jobs and workouts, each family member may be operating solo much of the time, but dinners can fix that. Sitting down and sharing a joke or an incident from the day as you pass the mashed potatoes can become a reassuring way for kids to let go of worries, knowing their parents are there for them when they are out in the world.

Dinner broadens a kid’s view – Small children have been shown to have a much larger vocabulary when they talk with their parents over dinner. Older children and teens have a chance to bounce ideas off of their parents and ask questions about the news and the world. Researchers have shown teens who ate family meals regularly were twice as likely to do well in school.

Dinners keep kids healthy – A warm receptive atmosphere at mealtime does a lot for kids’ health. They tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, have less problems with issues such as asthma, and avoid obesity. However, those benefits take a dive if the TV is on during the meal. One study showed American kindergartners who watched TV during dinner were more likely to be overweight by third grade.

Dinner helps teens keep their balance – A study in Minnesota showed teens who ate dinner regularly with their family had lower rates of depression and suicidal tendencies. Family dinners also helped teens handle bullying, and deal with high-risk behaviors such as drinking, drugs, violence, eating disorders and sex.

Every family is different, but a regular family dinner may work in much the same way to reassure kids that their parents are there for them as they let go of worries and just enjoy talking over the day.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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