Making Meals Matter

There are a lot of benefits of eating meals together as a family. Read about some findings.

A family meal is defined as when at least one adult and one child eat together or when two or more people eat together. It's often a favourite time for family members to interact and talk about their day.

Here are some benefits of eating together for youth and young adults:

Better nutrition

9 – 14 year olds who eat dinner with family four or more times a week consume

  • More fruits and vegetables
  • More fibre, calcium, folate, iron, vitamins B6, B12, C and E
  • Less pop
  • Fewer fried foods
  • Less saturated fat and less trans fat

Middle & high school students who eat family meals

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods
  • Drink fewer soft drinks

Better connection

  • As the number of family meals increase, so do measures of family support, communication and expectations.  

Better health

  • Children and adolescents who eat more family meals are at a lower risk for overweight and obesity
  • Increased frequency of eating together as a family seems to offer protection from eating disorders in adolescents

Reduced high-risk behaviours

  • Adolescents who more frequently eat together with their parents are at a lower risk for drug abuse and have better social adjustment (e.g. fewer fights, decreased early sexual activity), compared to adolescents who eat together with their parents less often.

Better school performance

  • High school students who eat dinner with their families 4 times or more per week:

score higher on achievement tests

have better grades

  • The results were similar among upper elementary students.

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