Let’s face it, we’re busy! As much as we try to find time for dinner with family, our calendars are filled. Between volunteering, soccer practice, volleyball, continuing education classes, the second business, and endless Starbucks meetings, we’re becoming too busy to sit and have dinner as a family. We now substitute a drive-thru visit and eat in the car, or we eat freshly delivered pizza on the couch as it’s cheaper and less of a time commitment than a sit-down meal.

No matter what food is prepared or served, here are a few reasons why we should make the time to actually sit at the table and eat as a family: 1. ”One of the simplest and most effective ways for parents to be engaged in their teens’ lives is by having frequent family dinners,” Joseph Califano Jr., Chairman and President of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, told Web MD. 2. Typically meals eaten at the table are healthier, more balanced, and made with higher quality ingredients than fast food or some restaurants. 3. You and your children will talk more. Whether you talk about sports, grades, friends, gossip, or what other kids are doing, you’ll have a better pulse on your children, their actions, and their feelings. The easier it is for your children to talk to you, the more they’ll tell you when a serious issue arises. 4. One study of mealtime found that families who spent 16.4 minutes at the dinner table had a greater risk of being overweight than families that sat together for an average of 19.9 minutes. Give your family plenty of time. Overall, Jayne Fulkerson, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, said, “There is never going to be one right way to have family dinner, but it’s important that each family simply tries its best.” If you can eat two dinners per week to start, that’s great, just get the ball rolling somehow. A few suggestions on how to stay at the dinner time longer are discussing the daily highs and lows of the everyone at the table, while some families with little kids prolong dinner by serving food in multiple courses.

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