Think back. When was the last time your family gathered together for a family meal? If your last family meal seems like a distant memory, you can make a change by participating in the Dine In Challenge on Family and Consumer Sciences Day. On Dec. 3, 2015, UT Extension in partnership with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) encourages you to gather your family and Dine in together!
Participating in the Dine In Challenge is easy. Simply:
- Visit aafcs.org/FCSDay
- Complete the sign up form and pledge to dine in as a family on December 3rd.
- On December 3rd, prepare and eat a meal with your family.
Signing up for the Dine In Challenge event is simple. Yet, this simple act can have profound, positive benefits for your family. According to Dr. Christopher Sneed, Extension Specialist with UT Extension, family meals serve as a time for children to learn positive food habits. “Research shows children who eat meals with their families tend to have less rates of obesity, consume more nutrient dense foods and are less likely to develop an eating disorder,” states Sneed.
Even beyond these benefits, a host of other benefits can result from time spent as a family around the table. “Family meal times produce amazing effects on children’s academic and social development,” reiterates Sneed. Children who take part in regular family meals have:
- greater vocabulary growth,
- fewer behavioral problems, and
- better academic performance.
The key thing to remember – it is the process of actually sitting down as a family, having conversation and spending time together that is the most important. Many families may worry they are not able to cook the “perfect” meal and thus forego sitting down to family meal time. Worrying over preparing the perfect meal should not be a concern. Any healthy meal whether it’s a one skillet recipe or something prepared using the slow cooker is the perfect meal for family meal time.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and take the Dine In Challenge. The time you spend around the family table on December 3rd may be the start of a new family tradition and the start of some amazing benefits for your children and your family.