What makes YOU happy? Did you know that most people choose positive family connections over money or fame when asked what makes them happy? Eating dinner as a family is one of the ways to encourage a strong connection among family members. Research shows that the family dinner table plays quite a big role in the role of a family, not just in providing the nutrition needed for growth and development.

Studies done at the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has shown that teens who eat dinner with their families at least five times per week are more likely to avoid street drugs and alcohol, get better grades in school and have a positive self esteem.

Many other studies praised the family dinner. The list below is just a few of the many benefits you and your whole family can see…just by sitting down each night at the table and as a family!

  • Increased veggie intake – that’s right, studies have shown that when children sit at the table with their families, they eat more veggies! When was the last time you ate veggies driving through a fast food restaurant and eating in the car?
  • Increased variety of foods eaten – studies show that meals eaten at home tend to include more variety and may encourage little ones to be more adventurous when it comes to trying something new. Children model after the adults in their lives and if they see you eating a food that is new to them, they are more likely to try it for themselves!
  • Healthy meals equals healthy kids – foods prepared and eaten at home generally contain less fat, calories and sugar than foods eaten elsewhere. Lower fat and sugar intake generally means lower body weight and a healthier YOU!
  • Lower stress levels – our busy lifestyles often increase the stress that parents and their children experience…but with a little pre-planning, the family dinner can help to slow us down a bit so the whole family can benefit from this time to de-stress and relax!

Meals don’t have to take a long time to prep and cook. By making sure you have all of the ingredients at home ahead of time, you can get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes! Try this easy Teriyaki Chicken stir fry that will have the whole family asking for more!