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Start the Day Together!


Dinner isn't the only family meal shared around the table

Family meals are powerful.  Industry leader, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) reports that children who eat at the table with their family tend to get better grades in school, are less likely to smoke, are more emotionally balanced and consume 24% more healthy and fiber rich items like fruits and vegetables.  Yet, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night.  If your family is part of the majority that doesn’t eat dinner together, don’t overlook other opportunities to gather around the table such as snack time and breakfast!

Breakfast has its own set of benefits.  Epidemiological studies suggest that a regular breakfast habit protects against overweight and obesity in children and adolescents.  One study published in The British Journal of Nutrition set out to compare breakfast intake in over 1500 children in the United Kingdom to find out exactly which nutrients were lacking.  Children between 4-10 and 11-18 years old provided a four day food diary which was analyzed to find that breakfast eaters benefit from a variety of nutrients including folate, calcium, iron and iodine.  Children that had irregular breakfast habits fell short of fiber and micronutrient needs, contributing to a less than optimal diet.

Take the stress out of mornings with simple meals that even the kids can help put together.  You’ll set a good example for your kids and know that you’ve already accomplished one huge hurdle by having a family meal before 9am.  Even if it’s just a simple bowl of cereal with fruit, a parfait or whole grain blueberry pancakes that were whisked up the night before, a breakfast eaten together as a family can influence more than just your child’s diet – it can set the whole family up for a successful day.

Published September 1, 2018

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