The recipe for keeping your kids emotionally healthy and away from drugs and alcohol might be found at your dinner table. Studies show that the more frequently kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to use drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University also found that these kids also eat more nutritiously, do better in school and have fewer emotional problems.
When you bring your family back to the dinner table you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a complicated meal. Family meals are more about time together, laughing and talking, than about a grand menu. Nor do you have to sacrifice nutrition or flavor just because you’re busy; easy meals can be healthful and delicious.
Get the family involved! Let the kids plan the meals and help prepare them.
Things You Can Do as a Family
It's never to soon or too late to start family meals. Here are some helpful tips:
- Start the pattern of family dinners when children are young.
- Encourage children to create menu ideas and participate in meal preparation.
- Turn off the TV and telephone. Don't let the kids answer cell phones during the meal.
- Talk about what happened in everyone's day: school, work, extracurricular activities or current events.
- Make sure the conversation is positive and inclusive.
- If there is time, play a board game after dinner to keep the conversation going.
FamilyTime has more than 10,000 recipes for you to choose from, and many are from some of America’s most trusted brands. We also have ideas for menus and tips for cooking.
To learn more about the study or national Family Day, go to www.CASAFamilyDay.org.