Make Dinner a Family Affair

Posted by Patti Sciulli on November 8, 2017

As you settle into the school year, mapping out your busy agenda – juggling soccer schedules, carpools, and dance classes – don’t forget to include one of the most valuable activities: Family meals.

The benefits of sitting down together are remarkable. Children who take part in family dinners tend to eat healthier, do better in school, develop higher self-esteem, eat more nutritiously and have fewer behavior problems. And if you get your kids involved in the kitchen, the advantages multiply. Cooking teaches children valuable life skills that prevent their reliance on processed, packaged foods when they are adults, and research shows it’s one of the surest ways to get them to taste and enjoy vegetables.

Here are just a few tips to help your kids develop healthy nutrition habits for years to come.

  1. Maintain an upbeat attitude. Healthy habits should be fun. If you’re having a good time, your kids will look forward to good food and nutrition instead of dreading it.
  2. Allow periodic splurges. Forbidding goodies entirely is almost guaranteed to send your kids straight to the vending machines at school. Allow the occasional treat, as long as they’re eating healthy most of the time.
  3. Limit sugary drinks. Water, low-fat milk and 100% fruit juices are better choices that soda and other sugary beverages.
  4. Pack a healthy lunch. Many school cafeteria meals are high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber-and-nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  5. Follow the 80/20 rule. Provide healthy food choices at home so that your kids are eating well 80% of the time. Allot the other 20% of the time for fun foods.

Patti Scuili is our Group Exercise/Wellness Director. To contact Patti for information on all of our fitness and wellness programs, please call 412-697-3507, or fill out the form and we will get right back to you!

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