Anita Mostert | The Dietician

+27 83 686 7284

The importance of family meals for your child and for you!

Sharing meals together is more than just providing healthy nutrition to your family. It also serves as an opportunity for quality time for families to come together and share the day’s experiences.

Family dinners may not be on the plans due to jobs, sports activities, school projects and busy lifestyles that may prevent us from sharing a meal together. But more and more parents are realizing the importance of shared family time at the dinner table. Often, this is the only time when all the family members are together in one place.


Some of the benefits of family dinners for children and teenagers:

  • Healthier eating patterns and less fussiness when it comes to food choices
  • Increased intake of fruit and vegetables
  • A lower intake of fried foods and cold drinks
  • Improved communication and vocabulary skills
  • Helps to improve social skills as it teaches a child to share their experiences and listen to others
  • Improved marks at school
  • Family dinners help to build the self-esteem of children
  • A lower risk of substance abuse, depression and the likelihood of developing eating disorders
  • Lower rates of obesity

There are also benefits for adults, including:

  • Better nutrition with a higher intake of fruits and vegetables
  • A lower consumption of fast foods
  • Less dieting
  • Increased self-esteem
  • A lower risk of depression
  • Improved communication with your family members

How to implement family dinners:

  • Make everyone aware of your intention and allow input and suggestions from family members.
  • Keep to a routine. Agree on a suitable time that suits everyone and keep to it most days.
  • Switch off the screens. Discuss the importance of sharing meals without distractions with your family.
  • Decide on the duration of your meal. Be flexible and keep schedules in mind.
  • Involve everyone in the planning, cooking and cleaning up during meal times.
  • Family members can be assigned different tasks and rotate responsibilities on a weekly basis.
  • Ask about each family member’s day. Allow each person to share their day’s experiences and listen attentively.

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