Family meals help to improve this important food issue

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Carbon38)
(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Carbon38) /

As more families cook, family meals are helping to improve this important food issue.

Has your family discovered the joy of cooking? Family meals are replacing that drive-through habit. Whether it was lack of open restaurants, necessity or a desire to actually turn on a stove, it seems that more families are getting off the couch and discovering the possibilities that a kitchen holds. What does that mean for families’ nutrition and healthy eating?

In a recent study by the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, more frequent family meals are associated with “better dietary and family functioning outcomes.” Basically, this study finds that families are making better food choices when they cook at home.

The concept of home cooking leading to better dietary habits isn’t necessarily a new one. That run through the drive-thru might be convenient, but it comes with a price. The processed food, lack of fresh options and high calories are not always the best choice for families.

Since many people have been required to spend more time at home, they can reevaluate what, how and why they eat certain foods at a family meal. Without the constant on-the-go lifestyle, people can take stock of good food and better nutrition.

It isn’t to say that people aren’t eating frozen pizza or other convenience foods. Those easy food options or even some comfort foods may not be the best nutritional choices. Still, families are finding a way to balance the food on the table. For every frozen pizza, there might be a big salad served with it. After all, life is about compromise.

As life starts to return to its more busy pace, it will be interesting to see if these family meals and better dietary choices remain part of a family’s lifestyle. Given the amount of time people have been closer to home, the good habits could have stuck. As long as people have learned to adapt their lifestyles and appreciate how they feel eating good food, they might want to keep the new pattern going.

Even if a family keeps this family meal tradition once a week, the difference is a good one. After all, little changes can and will make a long term difference.

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Have you been eating more family meals? Do you think that these changes will be permanent?