I know, I know. You don't need any help on this front. Neither did I, at least so I thought. But I've just been researching some stuff for work - "eating together as a family" and the health benefits are shocking!
Basically, if you eat together you will be slim, your children will be slim, and someone else will pay your mortgage. Ok, the bit about the mortgage isn't true, but the rest is. Look at this:
According to Cornell University (I trust them) eating together means:
"Your child may be 35% less likely to engage in disordered eating, 24% more likely to eat healthier foods and 12% less likely to be overweight." They say that some of this research might be based on other data which is hard to exclude, such as families which eat together are more affluent, culturally more stable etc. But even when this is allowed for, they say: "Results show that family dinners
are linked to lower levels of depressive symptoms. Indeed the authors find that the implications for youth of engaging in family meals are similar to the implications of living in a two- vs. a single-parent family. " Wow.
And...if you want to go on an utterly painless diet, read this:
"Children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. In addition, they are less likely to engage in disordered eating." American Academy of Pediatrics.
But perhaps most interestingly families who eat in front of the TV are more likely to be overweight. Being distracted while they eat means they eat more, and by not being able to recall clearly what they ate means they are more likely to eat more at their next meal.
We don't eat in front of the telly, generally, but I find it really hard to eat at the same time as the kids. Work normally gets in the way, but having researched all of this, I'm going to make sure that I eat with them at least three times a week. It's going to be my New Year's Resolution. What about you? Do you eat with your kids? How often? Do you think it's important?