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  • Sophie Butcher

Family meals: the key to healthy children

Children and adolescents who eat family meals are more likely to eat better, be healthier and feel better about themselves according to the Ellyn Satter Institute, an internationally recognised authority on eating and feeding.

Unfortunately with our increasingly busy lives, families are more likely to eat on the run instead of having meals together.

Here's a few more positive reasons to take time with your family this week and enjoy meals together:

1. Family meals give you the time to model positive eating practices and you can explore a variety of foods together.

2. Everyone comes to the table hungry and eats the amount that their body needs.

3. It is a great time to check in with each other and share stories about what happened during the day.

4. There is time to enjoy the pleasure of food at a set eating time and practice mindful eating.

Here's a few ideas to get you started with family meals:

- Eat the meals you are already eating, even if it's take away food! Just make it at regular meal (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and snack times, and sit down together.

- Let your family know ahead of time that you will be sitting down together to enjoy a meal.

- Start with one meal a day if you are really busy. For example, breakfast can often be the easiest time to get everyone together if your family has lots of activities after school or work.

- Let your children and adolescents decide what and how much they want to eat (from the food you provide on the table).

- Enjoy the time together and stay positive. Ask questions and share things the important things in your life.

For more information about feeding your family see the Ellyn Satter Institute

Food Talks Nutrition promotes family meals to parents, carers, children and adolescents through our incursion and workshops.

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