For those of you with families, squeezing in a home-cooked meal together can be downright daunting. Jobs. Extra-curriculars. Appointments. Hobbies (j/k, lol). Finding time to sit down as a family isn’t easy, but the benefits may just make it worth your while.
In one recent study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Linda Pagani and her team from the Université de Montréal in Canada reported findings supporting the importance of family-style meals in childhood development.
During the study, researchers followed 1,492 children born between 1997 and 1998 from 5 months of age onward. At the age of 6, parents began reporting how often the children experienced family meals. The general fitness and mental well-being of the children was then assessed at the age of 10.
Study co-author Marie-Josée Harbec, also of the Université de Montréal, noted that “because we had a lot of information about the children before age 6 — such as their temperament and cognitive abilities, their mother’s education and psychological characteristics, and prior family configuration and functioning — we were able to eliminate any pre-existing conditions of the children or families that could throw a different light on our results. It was really ideal as a situation.”
Unsurprisingly, children who experienced regular family meals had better general fitness, a lower intake of soft drinks, and better social skills at the age of 10 than those who did not.
Pagani went on to say that “from a population-health perspective, our findings suggest that family meals have long-term influences on children’s biopsychosocial well-being.”
You can do it!
It may seem arduous, but we promise, it’s not half as arduous as the term biopsychosocial. Share the responsibility – make bringing your people together a family-endeavor. Sharing dinner-duties will not only increase responsibility around the house, but you’ll cut down on prep and cook time too! Check out some of the family-friendly quick-meals below to get you started.
Angel Hair Artichoke Pasta
Cook time for this one is a meager 10 minutes, so with a few helping hands, dinner could be ready on your table in 20 minutes or less. That should leave plenty of time to sit, chat about the day, and enjoy the fruits of your collective labors.
Gingered Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir-Fry
In just 20 minutes–start to finish–you can have this nutrient-rich, yummy dinner. Magic does exist.
Tex Mex Lettuce Wraps by This Mess is Ours
Like tacos without the carbs (or extra calories), this is a guaranteed southwest-win.
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