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twitter_shutterstock_19706134By Camille Finn

Missing those frequent family dinners that you had when you were a kid? You’re not alone. About half (47%) of parents say that they share fewer meals with their family than when they were growing up.

There are lots of reasons why family meals are important. Studies show that when families eat together, the kids are happier and do better in school, the family is closer, the kids make healthier choices, and the parent’s budget benefits. Still, many families find it hard to sit down and eat together.

Start enjoying more family meals with these tips:

  • Plan on it! Schedule time for family meals. You’ll be more likely to follow through if you have it planned.
  • Get everyone involved. Kids will enjoy the meal more if they have a special role in preparing the food.
  • Change it up. Family meals don’t always have to be dinner. Have brunch on the weekend, or plan a picnic for the whole family.
  • Focus on each other. Turn off the TV and keep phones away from the table. Use the meal as a time to catch up and connect face-to-face.
  • Keep it simple. Family meals don’t have to be fancy to be healthy and fun. Pull out leftovers for an easy meal on a busy night.
  • Don’t yuck my yum! Help kids understand that they may not like a food but they should let others feel free to enjoy it. Encourage positive food talk at the table.
  • Try new things. Family meals are a perfect time to practice a new cooking technique or to taste that new food you’ve wanted to try.
  • Make it fun! Happy conversations and positive atmospheres encourage kids to make healthier food choices.

Let us know how these tips worked for you!

Camille Finn is a dietetic intern at Tufts University.

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Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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