The Benefits of Eating Together

The Benefits of Eating Together

Families today have their plates full (no pun intended). Our schedules are packed with homework, sports practice, games, rehearsals, long commutes and work. It’s a wonder we can ever gather around the family table for a meal. But as challenging as it may be…it may be worth the effort. Studies show that the family meal is an important part of healthy living. Family meals help to teach good manners, promote healthy eating, and improve social skills. But most importantly, family meals strengthen the family unit, creating closeness, and a sense of belonging. Conversations at the table connect us and open up lines of communication and sharing.

According to Becky Hand, a registered and licensed dietician, research shows that frequent family dinners (5 or more a week) are associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking and

illegal drug use in pre-teens and teenagers when compared to families that eat together two or fewer times per week. She also notes that children do better in school when they eat more meals with their parents and family. Additional research shows that teenagers who eat dinner four or more times per week with their families have higher academic performance compared to teenagers who eat with their families two or fewer times per week. cites that researchers at the University of Illinois found that children ages 7 to 11 who did well on school achievement tests spent a large amount of time eating meals and snacks with their family. They also cite a Harvard study where family dinners were most influential in fostering healthy child development, over play, story time and other family events.

Although typical family meals may be on pause while at camp, we keep the benefits of eating together going strong with our “camp family”. Meal time at camp is one of our favorite moments throughout the day. We gather together 3 times a day, to eat, share, laugh, learn and be with family. It’s about food and nourishing our bodies, but it is so much more. It is a spirited time to catch up on the day’s events with our friends, siblings and camp family. The constant singing and chanting of some very special camp

songs brings us together and deepens the bonding that is already happening at camp. Our use of round tables allows each camp family member to be a part of the experience, and to feel part of a terrific community.

Eating together, at both home and camp, is beneficial for everyone. No need to make it gourmet…just grab your plates and your family and enjoy the time together.