Does Eating Together as Family Lead to Healthier Families? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: Does Eating Together as Family Lead to Healthier Families?

For many people, family meals are done on the run. It might be grabbing something from the drive-through, or eating in different shifts to accommodate schedules. However, there is something to be said for making a date with your loved ones each night, all sitting around the same table, and eating your meal together.  

"Studies show that kids eat more fruits and vegetables when they are eating together with their family," said Jackie Martin, director of community benefit at Martha Jefferson Hospital.  

Martin works at the Martha Jefferson Starr Hill Health Center at the Jefferson School. She's working to educate families on the importance of eating at the same time.  

"It's a really good opportunity to educate kids about what they're supposed to be eating," commented Martin.  

Just by sitting down together, important lessons about food can be learned.  In addition to the meal, highlights from your child's day are often shared too.  

"You know, this is good for the younger kids, and what a better way to find out what's going on with your teens to actually enjoy meal times with them and have that conversation going as well," said Martin.  

Knowing that finding the time can be a challenge for families, Martin recommends simply putting dinner on the calendar like you would anything else.  

"It's really important that you plan that time and that it's a priority," said Martin. "Like taking your kids to a baseball game, you have that on your calendar and everyone in the family understands that the expectation is that you come together for meal times." 

Shopping together and preparing the meal together are also things you can do to help create buy-in for the family time.  

"When you make it a priority, families are much more likely to stick to that," said Martin. 

Martha Jefferson is hosting free seminars on preparing healthy meals at the Starr Hill Health Center at the Jefferson School.  If you would like more information, or to sign up, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.  

If you have a health question you'd like for us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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