The importance of eating together as a family hasn’t been stressed enough, in our opinion. We may understand the importance of eating together, but sometimes, there just isn’t enough time, what with all our obligations.
Numerous studies show that families that eat together stay together – that’s what we at IKEA believe too.
Strength and security as a family
Eating together strengthens bonds and encourages belonging and a sense of security. It has been linked to better grades in teens and leads to healthier food choices, since family meals comprise all the good stuff and no unhealthy items. This means everyone gets the key nutrients – calcium, iron, and fibre.
Research also shows that involving your children in the kitchen and eating together makes them emotionally stronger and provides better mental health, apart from inculcating good table manners and communication skills.
Also, since obesity is a huge problem these days, homemade meals help with portion control, since you decide how much goes on the plate. They also have lesser calories than restaurant food. Bigger restaurant portions just make us eat more: remove that, and you have a winner. And need we say that eating at home is most definitely more pocket-friendly?!
Here are a few things you can do to get more family mealtimes going:
Take baby steps
Increase the number of meals together gradually, starting with even just 2 or 3 per week. Alternatively, pick the one meal that seems doable and let the entire family know so they can plan it into their schedules.
Plan simple meals
Don’t stress yourself out with elaborate menus that can wear you down. Keep it simple through the week and put in the extra effort, with the help of the family, if you wish over the weekend.
At IKEA, we believe in fun, so remember to keep arguments away from the family table. Create a fostering environment with general conversations and maybe even have themed meals, like picnic dinners or breakfast nights.
Involve the kids
Get your children into the kitchen. If you don’t want them cutting veggies, let them wash and mix or layer food for you. This way they’ll learn something about what goes into their meals. You could also let them take turns with various odd jobs in the kitchen, to help them understand responsibility.
With the simple tips, family will be your favorite dinner guests forever!