“The big picture is that family meals, and especially dinner, are the single most important activity that parents can do to enhance the life of their children.” ~ Dr. William Doherty, family therapist and author
Do you agree? Doesn’t it seem that over the generations kids have become so involved with other evening activities that gathering the family for dinner each night seems almost impossible?
Conflicting schedules is a typical reason why families often scratch eating dinner together as a family unit (and surely there are others), and the reality has become that fewer and fewer Americans are making this tradition a reality in their families.
A UNICEF study found that the United States ranked 23rd out of 25 countries in the percentage of children who eat the main meal of the day with their parents several times a week.
“all you” magazine features five of us families who, despite challenges, still make it happen. The intro to the series of featured families shares that 42 percent of American households have two parents that work outside the home, one in three children are being raised by a single parent and that the cherished evening ritual of the family dinner is being compromised. The individual families’ stories share many creative ways to bring the family together during meal time, in one form or another, and it is so worth it, even if it is not to eat dinner as a family every single night.
Why family meals are so important!
A CNN Health Report shares a study in the journal Pediatrics that finds that children and adolescents who share meals with their families at least three times per week are less likely to be overweight, eat unhealthful foods or be at risk for eating disorders.
The good news is that so many parents are congregating around sports activities and other events that indeed surround a healthful lifestyle, so while trends are shifting from the “traditional” ways, I contend that increased parental involvement in other areas is just as important. Still, “breaking bread” as a nuclear family, a ritual that is invaluable, is clearly something that is so very worthwhile!
Where to get the magazine
We had to take the food over to the in-laws for a decent shot, as our kitchen and dining room photos just appeared too dark (top left photo), but I love that the magazine staff took such care to make sure to double-check with me the areas I discussed in my original phone interview (a first for me!). The magazine is full of great articles and recipes. Here is a link that shares where you can buy a copy of “all you.” I got mine at Walmart. You will see a coupon on the cover to save $1.
What are your family meal traditions? Do you think that we can replace the traditional family meal ritual with substitutes? We would love to hear your thoughts!