Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

The family that eats together

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Recent research indicated that the benefits of family dinners have been overstated. The researchers examined the links between “family dinners and mental health, substance use, and delinquency”. They did actually find that regular family dinners were associated with a reduced risk of depressive symptoms, although they argued that confounding factors such as higher family income and a stay-at-home mum might have been the reason for this and not the dinners themselves. They did not find a connection between family dinners and delinquency. That’s all well and good but are these the only reasons that family dinners are important? I know that when I was growing up we all ate supper together as a family and it was often the only time we were all in one room together. We may not have even enjoyed each other’s company all that much but I still appreciate that our parents insisted upon this tradition. Even if this study suggests that we might not become depressed alcoholic criminals if our families don’t eat dinner together regularly I still think that there are plenty of other reasons to eat together. Eating together provides parents with the opportunity to model good food attitudes and behaviours to children. Provided that these meals are balanced and nutritious, they also ensure that everyone is having at least one good meal at an appropriate time with limited distractions, a good habit to adopt. I know that we live in a crazy busy time but if we can’t even make time to eat one meal a day together as a family then really what’s the point of even having a family?

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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