The benefits of family meals

08.09.18 |

The Habits of Health System is comprehensive in that it goes beyond diet and exercise to look at the whole picture of optimal wellbeing. Our choices create a rippling web of consequences and rewards, where a decision in one aspect of health can impact many other areas. When we look at health with this bigger picture in mind, we can harness these connections to reach new heights for health and longevity.

With this view, we see that many of the choices so commonly taken for granted actually have significant effects on our health.

Consider the decline of traditional family meals.

Our tribal ancestors lived deeply communal lifestyles, sharing food and fellowship with extended families each night as each family member played a part in hunting, gathering, and preparing the day’s meals. Today, as technology advances and as lifestyles become busier and busier, the art of the family meal is in danger of being lost or relegated only to special occasions like major holidays.

Sharing a meal with our loved ones, having that time free of distraction to focus on each other and what connects us, has very real health benefits. Habits of Healthy Relationships are one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of health, and regularly sharing family meals can be a powerful way to rekindle the potential of these habits in your life.

The potential benefits are extensive, and the research is growing, but here is an overview of potential rewards as summarize by The Family Dinner Project:

  • Better academic performance
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Greater sense of resilience
  • Lower risk of substance abuse
  • Lower risk of depression
  • Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
  • Lower rates of obesity

And these are just the beginning. If the research into this topic continues along its current trends, we are likely to discover that family dinners produce even deeper rewards than we realize. So, put away the cellphones, share time in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal, and sit with your loved ones at least once a week to enjoy time together and to strengthen your bonds.