Why Mealtime Matters
Sharing a meal with your family is a wonderful way to bond with the people who mean the most.
"Sitting down to a meal together draws a line around us," says Miriam Weinstein, author of The Surprising Power of Family Meals, "It encloses us and strengthens the bonds that connect us with other members of our self-defined clan, shutting out the rest of the world."
The beneficial impact of family mealtime has been demonstrated for children of all ages. Better grades, healthier eating habits, closer relationships to parents and siblings, ability to resist negative peer pressure, resilience in the face of life's problems — all these are outcomes of simply sharing dinner on a regular basis.
- Children depend on their parents for the ABCs of good health. 71% say they get information about how to be healthy from their mother; 43% from their father.
- 19% of teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week report that there is a great deal of tension or stress between family members, compared to 7% of teens who have at least five family dinners per week.
- More mealtime at home was the single strongest factor in better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems in children all ages. More meals at home also resulted in less obesity.
- Because feeding is the most basic animal form of caring, sharing meals is one of the most central family bonds.
- Through the mini lessons of table manners, children learn to share and think of others. By saying "please" and "thank you," we recognize the humanity of our tablemate, acknowledging the fact that we both deserve respect.
- More than a decade of research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less like they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.
Recognizing the importance of family mealtime is an important step in getting the family together and making a commitment to bonding through fellowship. Once you identify the obstacles standing in your way, you can overcome them and be well on your way to togetherness – even busy schedules feel less busy when you have time to spend together over a meal. Make a schedule, set an expectation, and have fun with your family feasts.
With just a little effort, your family can be healthier and happier — simply by taking the time to sit down to eat together daily.
At The J.M. Smucker Company, we recognize and respect the power of mealtime. Our brands are honored to be invited to family meals everywhere and to play a small — but important — role in bringing families together. As we make our products and market our brands, we try tokeep in mind the importance that food and mealtimes can play in our lives.