Eating Dinner as Family

Looking for reasons to start eating dinner together as a family? Here are 5 reasons to bring back family dinnertime:

  1. According to a 2000 survey by the Harvard Medical School Obesity Prevention Program, when families eat dinner together, children eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried foods and soda. 
  2. A 2003 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that encouragement and repeated exposure are more effective in getting children to eat new foods than threats. In the study, children were offered a new food and encouraged to try it, then allowed to eat as much or little as they wished. By the end of 8 days, children were eating more of the food and rating its taste higher.
  3. U.S. families spend 40% of their food budget outside the home. Eating dinners at home gives families greater control over their food budget. Because the average restaurant meal has 60% more calories than a homemade meal, eating at home is also a good way to cut calories and control portion size. 
  4. Children who ate healthy meals were less likely to experience eating disorders and depression; less likely to engage in underage drinking, sex and drug use; and more likely to believe their parents were proud of them, according to a University of Minnesota School of Public Health study.
  5. Eating dinner together 5 times a week dramatically reduces teen smoking, drinking and drug use, according to the Columbia University National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Eating together less than 3 times a week triples teen drug abuse and doubles smoking and alcohol use.