How to Make Family Meals a Priority When You Are Busy

When you have children, it can be hard to sit down together as a family for a meal. One child has soccer practice, while the other may be doing a school project. Let's not forget about the parent who has to work late that week. How can any family find the time to sit down for a meal together?

Even though your family life may be full and busy, you should still strive to make family meals a priority. This doesn't always have to mean dinner. Family meals can happen over breakfast or lunch too. They are so crucial because for many busy families, mealtime is the only time that they get to spend with one another. Many studies also back up the health benefits for parents and kids.

More Veggies

A 2007 study found that families who ate together consumed on average .8 more fruits and vegetables compared to families who did not eat together. According to the same study, "These families also had higher intakes of important nutrients such as dietary fiber, calcium, folate, vitamins B6, B12, C and E, and iron, and they were less likely to eat unhealthy fried foods and drink soda."

Stronger Stability

Research has found that children who are with their families were much less likely to be involved in high-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and violent crimes. Family meals encourage positive behavior and helps strengthen the bond between child and parent. The deeper relationship between parents and children also results in more open communication and trust.

How to Make Family Meals a Priority When You Are Busy

Focus on getting everyone together for a meal and serve something simple. There is no need to make something elaborate. However, fast food is not the answer either. Instead, try steaming a few cups of vegetables and having that alongside baked chicken. These two foods take only a few minutes to prepare and can be ready within 20-30 minutes.

There is nothing wrong with starting small. If you only get to one or two family meals a week, that is okay. Try to add on another family meal next week and just keep increasing the meals you have together.

It is important to turn off the TV and to leave all distractions away from the table. You can create conversation cards to help get the family talking and laughing. Pretty soon, family meals will be everyone’s favorite part of the day.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Justin S. Campbell

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