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Family Meals Can Help Keep Kids Healthy

By 6WATE, 04/05/19, 12:00PM CDT

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Involve the kids in preparations. Give younger kids simple tasks like setting the table, filling drinks and tossing the salad. 

Busy families may have less time to sit down to a traditional family meal, but research shows that making time for this ritual can help kids lead a healthier lifestyle now and in the future.

Dr. Jan Neece, a psychologist at Children’s Hospital, says studies have shown that teens who take part in regular family meals are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or use marijuana and other drugs. She also says family meals can improve social-emotional health. It’s a great opportunity to talk, to help understand your child’s emotions, allow them to express themselves and for adults to practice listening to their children. Neece says shared family meals are more likely to be nutritious. They can help teach kids to choose more healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and can cut down on snacking on unhealthy foods.