September is National Family Meals Month. In a world of busy schedules, deadlines, and too many responsibilities, eating together as a family may not be top on your list. If we all understood the benefits of family mealtime, perhaps we could save the world one meal at a time!
It is true that those who participate in regular family mealtime eat healthier foods, including more fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals, but the benefits extend far beyond nutrition and healthy eating alone. There are mental, emotional, social, and physical benefits as well.
- Increased grade point averages
- Improved vocabulary
- More motivation at school
- Decreased depression
- Increased self-esteem
- Stronger sense of belonging and security
- Less family tension
- Decreased behavioral problems
- Better adjusted adolescents
- Improved communication
- Development of values and traditions
- Strengthened family bonds
- Less violence
- Lower obesity rates
- Less eating disorders
- Less use of cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs.
The list of benefits is long and powerful! After all, don’t we all hope for healthy, smart, well adjusted children who do well in school and in their community?
Family Meals Month is a great time to reflect on your family mealtime routine. Find a time that works for you schedule. If dinnertime doesn’t work, try breakfast. If every night isn’t a possibility, try 3 times a week. If the whole family can’t make it, share a meal with as many family members as you can. Worry less about doing it perfectly and focus on doing whatever you can. Once you get in the habit, it will become easier and easier. Click on the pledge card below for a printable version. Use it to commit to having family mealtime throughout the month of September.
We have so many resources and fun ideas to share. Check back all month long for recipes, mealtime activities, and tips to make mealtime easier. For now, be sure to download our free cookbook and check out the resource links below.
The original recipe from Maine SNAP-Ed called for Bulgar, a type of wheat. Any grain you have on hand will do. I chose barley. Brown rice or quinoa would work just as well. It is such a fresh, yet filling recipe and my mouth waters just thinking about it. Enjoy!