Why should we eat together?
- Family bonding. Eating a family meal creates an environment that fosters family conversation.
- Eating at home saves money. “Restaurants are in the business to make money,” says Peterson. “Their labors, real estate and profit margin all cost. If they don’t make money, they don’t stay in business.”
- Home-cooked meals are healthier. Commercially prepared foods are notoriously high in sugar, starch and fat, although some restaurants do list low-fat items on their menus, says Peterson. She adds that home cooking allows a family to select healthy ingredients, tailor meals to suit its own particular nutritional needs and tastes, serve portions appropriate to age and activity level and monitor methods of preparation.
- Eating at home promotes both learning and a healthy lifestyle. Preschool children who eat with the family have better language skills, according to the Rockford Clinic. Eating together as a family can teach good communications skills such as listening patiently and expressing one’s opinion in a respectful manner.
- Eating together helps children appreciate family tradition. Food served at the family table helps to shape and give lasting meaning to our cultural heritage, says Katherine Carson, associate professor of food science at Pennsylvania State College.
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