When was the last time you sat down and had a meal with your whole family? Between the kids’ school obligations, extracurricular activities and social lives and the demands of your own schedule, the closest you seem to come to a family meal consists of you all wolfing down fast food in the car together as you speed off to the next appointment or practice.
But with 30 percent of American kids being overweight or obese, and a growing number facing formerly “adult” conditions, like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, how (and what) you eat as a family is a more pressing issue than ever. Research shows that teens who frequently eat meals with their family have healthier eating habits; 30 percent of kids aged 12 to 17, though, eat meals with their family less than three times a week. Despite the difficulties, with the right atmosphere and healthy eating habits, family meals can be a time to strengthen your relationship and teach your kids lifelong habits that will help reduce their risk for a whole host of diseases. And isn’t that worth making it a priority?