CLEARFIELD—Looking for a way to connect with your kids? Eat together.
Gov. Gary Herbert has proclaimed September as Healthy Family Meals Month and the Davis County Health Department (DCHD) has joined in by encouraging families to make time to have meals together.
“On average, parents spend only 15 minutes of each day talking to their child,” said Brian Hatch, director of DCHD in a statement. “Family meal time is an opportunity to increase that time and have meaningful conversations that will help your child thrive in all aspects of life.”
Eating just a few meals together a week can have a positive impact on a child’s life physically, academically, mentally and socially, the release said.
“Utah State University Extension reports children from families who eat together five or more times a week generally eat more fruits and vegetables and are more likely to make healthy choices when they are on their own,” said Marcie Clark, a health educator with the department in the statement. “They are better able to manage negative emotions and learn appropriate ways to share thoughts, feelings, and opinions.”
There are other long-term benefits such as better grades, a larger vocabulary and a decrease in the likelihood of alcohol and drug use, according to the release.
“Get the most out of your bonding time and make family meal time a success by turning off the television and other devices,” said Clark. “Involve the whole family in meal planning, preparing foods, and cleanup.”
Healthy recipes and tips for making meal time a success can be found on the USU Extension’s website at https://extension.usu.edu/foodsense/ and Utah Family Meals Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/utahfamilymeals.