Let’s Eat! The Impact of Having Family Meals Together

family-dinnerSteve Smith, in The Jesus Life (David C. Cook, 2012), pp. 153-154, provides some interesting information on the impact of having family meals together.

He writes:

The Council of Economic Advisers to the President reported, “The largest federally funded study of American teenagers found a strong association between regular family meals (five or more dinners per week with a parent) and academic success, psychological adjustment, and lower rates of alcohol use, drug use, early sexual behavior, and suicidal risks.”

In addition to the social and psychological benefits, the research shows that children ages nine to fourteen who have regular dinners with their parents “have more healthful dietary patterns, including more fruits and vegetables, less saturated and trans fat, fewer fried foods and sodas, and more vitamins and other micronutrients.” More and more research is showing that family meals also may be one of the most important protective factors in preventing childhood obesity. A study by The Ohio State University found that “pre-school aged children are likely to have a lower risk of obesity if they engage regularly in one or more of … specific household routines,” and the first routine mentioned was eating dinner together as a family.

What do you think?

How can we implement regular family meals in the midst of such a busy culture? How can we temper technology in such a way that allows the family to focus on being together rather than distracted by multiple screens and ongoing social media interaction with those not at the table? How can we have family meals without the event becoming a legalistic duty, rather than an anticipated delight?

The bottom line is this: how can family meals become a means of grace for the family?

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