Healthy Home Tips for All Families:
Make Meal time a Family Affair:
Prepare meals with the help of the children. Doing this allows you to help educate your child on how to cook. Plus, including children in the meal preparation step allows them to become “owners” of the meal. This is a great time to also grow the family bonds while having a good time.
Eat Together as a Family!
Sharing meals together is a great way to set examples for healthy eating and to discuss all that is happening in each other’s lives. It should be noted that the benefits of family meal times are just as important to teenage children as they are to infants who are just starting to eat solid foods. Research has shown that teens who eat regular family meals do better across all aspects of life: nutritionally, socially, emotionally and academically. A University of Minnesota study found that teens that ate the most meals with family had the least tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use. They also had higher grade point averages, less depression and less suicide. Specifically, in teen girls, the more meals that were consumed with family, the less likely they were to use extreme weight control measures (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:792-796).
If you currently do not eat meals together, set aside at least 1 day a week for family meal time as a start. It may seem impossible to get the whole family to sit together as one when you are running from practice to games to meetings and everything else that life throws at you. Planning ahead, including your children in the preparation of the meal and making family meal time a priority can help you make it happen!
Turn off the Screens!
Limiting access to not only television but also computers, phones, tablets and other technology devices allows for a break from distractions. Make a rule at meal time to not answer phones, check emails or texts, play on the computer, or watch TV. It won’t take long before you and your family start to talk, laugh and share in a way you might not have done before. Use the “away from technology” time to focus your attention on family needs.