“Even when families have issues, eating together can improve teen diets”

A new study finds that teenagers whose families eat dinner together are more likely to make better food choices, regardless of the family’s communication skills. 

The study suggest regardless of the how well the family functions, when you are bringing a family together for a meal you are often considering the adolescent’s nutrition. This leads to setting a healthy example for children and continued nutrition awareness into adulthood.

“Many, many studies have looked at the benefit of family meals, and over and over they have found that this leads to adolescents eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food and sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Walton, now a research fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Critics of the study suggest the dysfunction of the family would lead to less meals together and it would effect the nutritional value of the food in the house all together. However, researchers found that the more teens ate dinner with their family, the more fruits and vegetables were included in their diet. 

There are many benefits to eating a quality meal with family. Kathryn Walton, who was a doctoral student at the University of Guelph, Canada, presents ways in which parents can make family dinner a priority even with a busy schedule. Including your teens in meal prep as well as making dinner a more casual affair can help increase the frequency. 

This simple idea, can have a big impact on health! 

Learn more: Even when families have issues, eating together can improve teen diets – Reuters

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