Make Some Time for Family Mealtime

| Posted On Mar 05, 2018 | By:

family at mealtimeMarch is National Nutrition Month, so you may see an uptick in advice from nutritionists wherever you turn. You probably already know the drill: eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats…easy to put on paper, harder to do in real life.

One way to get started – one way with real, scientifically proven benefits – is family meals. These do not necessarily need to be family dinners, but any meal that gets family members seated at the table, without the distraction of TV, computers or phones, has true benefits beyond the vitamin and mineral content.

Experts tell us that children who eat family meals are less overweight or obese, have less disordered eating, and eat fewer unhealthy foods like fried food, soda and sweets. Young children learn to eat more fruits and vegetables and have less picky eating behavior. Teens who have frequent family meals have better academic performance, have a reduced risk to start smoking or use alcohol or drugs, and experience less depression.

Family meals get all the senses operating, and perhaps the most important one is conversation. Young children improve their vocabularies. Everyone at the table can share values, ideas, and solutions to problems. Traditions are formed and kept alive. Sharing meals together instills a sense of security. Everyone benefits from family meals: children, parents, and our community.

Here are some keys to making family meals work:

Need more help? Contact one of our Atrius Health Nutritionists to learn how to make family meals part of your routine. The following is a list of our nutritionists with their specialties and practice locations:

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About Janine Clifford-Murphy, RD

Janine Clifford-Murphy is a registered dietitian and has provided nutritional guidance and education to our patients at Atrius Health since 2005. She is a certified diabetes care and education specialist who also specializes in digestive health, diabetes, eating disorders, weight management, and family nutrition.