Family Dinners and Social Meals – Health Benefits?

Have you ever enjoyed a great dinner with friends? Do you have fond memories of eating with your family at home or during a fantastic vacation? What makes the meals so special? It’s the company we have.social meals with family and friends

Part of the appeal and the enjoyment of food is sharing it with others. I look forward to having dinner at home. For my husband and I, it’s a chance for us to share our days with each other and get things off our chests.

Besides the social benefits of enjoying there are some huge health benefits for families sitting down for a meal.

Health Benefits of Family Dinners

How important are family dinners? According to Dr. Matthew W. Gillman’s ( Harvard Medical School) study of over 15,000 children ages 9 to 14 years old:

Eating family dinner was associated with healthful dietary intake patterns, including more fruits and vegetables, less fried food and soda, less saturated and trans fat, lower glycemic load, more fiber and micronutrients from food, and no material differences in red meat or snack foods.

They found that children and adolescents had an increased intake of fiber, calcium, folate, iron, vitamins B6, B12, C, and E.

Selecting a Meal that Works for Us

Since we tend to eat more when we’re around friends and family, it’s important to choose a meal that won’t push us to pack on the pounds.

For us, we’re increasing the vegetables with our meals. Signing up for The Produce Box helped us by giving us a steady supply of fresh produce.

Here are some of the weekly deliveries we’ve had over this past season:

  • 2 green pepper, grape tomatoes, blueberries, cucumbers, corn (6-7 ears), yellow squash, and cantaloupe
  •  2 lbs Strawberries, 1 bunch sweet Texas onions, Sweet Potatoes, 1.5 shares of tomatoes, and 2 Romaine Lettuces
  •  Purple Sweet Potatoes,  Arugula, Rutabagas, Strawberries, Romaine Lettuce, Garlic Scallions, and Bok Choy

Thoughts on Social Eating

How many of you sit down for family dinners regularly? How many of you get together with friends to enjoy a meal? What have been a few of your favorite meals and memories

Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann