13 reasons to make time for family dinner

16 March, 2015

If there's one tradition that truly brings a family together, it's eating dinner. Countless studies have proven that clans that dine together each night have stronger bonds and healthier bodies, but in truth, the benefits go far beyond that. We eat less healthy when we eat out, and eating together is a way to unify the family every day. Need a few more reasons to embrace dinner with the fam?

  1. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, students who do not eat at home with their parents are more likely to be truant in school. 
  2. Families who eat together are less likely to be overweight. 
  3. Eating family dinner teaches your kids to clean up after themselves (if you put them on dish duty, that is).
  4. It also teaches them how to cook!
  5. Eating at home is significantly less expensive than going out to eat or picking up takeout every night. 
  6. Everyone gets the opportunity to stop working.
  7. You can better assess and address your kids' and spouse's mood changes.
  8. Eating healthier foods builds good habits. 
  9. It makes each member of the family feel more like he or she belongs.
  10. It gives you an opportunity to catch up with each other. 
  11. You can celebrate other cultures through food. 
  12. Cooking (and eating!) relieves stress. 
  13. It makes everyone more accountable, which carries over into other areas of life (like report cards). 

While any room in the house will do, we've always felt there was something particularly relaxing and enjoyable about eating together outside. Now that the weather is warming up, it's time to bust out the patio dining table and fire up the grill! Not only will your reap the benefits of eating together as a family, but you'll also get all the physical and mental health benefits of fresh air. If you've got an outdoor kitchen, you can even prepare the entire meal outside as a family and host a cocktail/mocktail happy hour. You'll be the coolest – and smartest – parents around.