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Today’s New York Times features an article about families eating together.  Multiple research over many years indicates that eating a family meal together several times a week —

  •  Connects family members to each other;
  •  Results in healthier food choices than when eating alone;
  • Helps prevent eating disorders among teenage girls;
  • Produces kids who are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs.

Amazingly, even having the TV on during the family meal is not that bad.  The key factor was togetherness, whether the family watched TV while dining or not.  Being together as a family was the most important aspect of mealtime. 

The article continues —

“The research has shown that those who regularly have meals with their parents eat more fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods, ingest more vitamins and nutrients, and consume less junk food. Some of the research has shown that kids who regularly sit down to a family meal are at lower risk for behaviors like smoking and drug and alcohol use.”

Churches of all sizes can encourage families to eat together by —

  1. Scheduling church activities around family mealtimes.
  2. Emphasizing the importance of gathering the family for meals several times a week.
  3. Facilitating small groups that come together to discuss a broad range of family and nutrition issues.

A great resource for encouraging family mealtimes together is The Surprising Power of Family Meals:  How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier, and Happier. 

Is your church doing something creative or innovative to encourage families to eat together?  If so, share those ideas with the rest of us.  We need all the help we can get!