Enjoying meals together as a family is highly valued among Canadians. Studies show 74% of adolescents enjoy eating with their families and almost all the adolescent’s parents (98%) value family meals. In addition, eating together as a family has many nutritional benefits.
Studies show that children who eat with their families have higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, and dairy products, which are foods we often don’t eat enough of. Studies also show that teens who eat with their family 5 times a week are 45% less likely to drink alcohol and 66% less likely to do drugs. Here are some tips to help you get meals on the table in minutes so you’ll have time to make mealtime a family affair!
- Plan ahead: Grocery shop on the weekend, pre-wash and chop fruits and vegetables so they are ready when you need them.
- Batch Cooking: Double your recipes when cooking on the weekend so all you have to do on a weeknight is thaw and reheat.
- Get everyone involved: Get your kids involved with setting the table, filling glasses with milk, and making a salad. Cooking together is also a great way to teach your kids about preparing healthy and delicious foods.
- Plan for leftovers: Cook extra chicken, beef or pork and turn it into something different another night. Try making a chicken stir-fry and using leftover chicken for fajitas.
1. PEN: Eating Together Practice Guidance Summary. 2007. Dietitians of Canada
2. PEN: Eating Together: The Family Meal. 2009. Dietitians of Canada
3. Celebrate food…from field to table! Cook Together. 2011. Dietitians of Canada