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What Do Dinosaurs and Family Meals Have in Common?

What Do Dinosaurs and Family Meals Have in Common?	 (1/6/17)Using a scale of 1-10, how would you answer these three questions:
1.  How much would your teenager say he/she enjoys eating meals together with your family? 
2.  How important would your teenager say it is to eat at least one family meal together each day?
3.  As a parent, how important is to have a family meal together at least once a day?

Based on two different studies, 79% of teens enjoy eating meals together with families “very much,” 64% of them say that eating at least one meal together each day as a family is “very important,” and 98% of parents agree that having their family eat together at least once a day is important.

What do dinosaurs and family meals have in common?  Apparently, nothing.  Dinosaurs are extinct, but family meals aren’t.  But if you recognize that family meals are at risk of becoming extinct for your family, act fast to save them. 

The family meal is worth fighting for.   Eating together as a family at least three times per week is linked with a multitude of benefits including a more nutritious diet, healthy weight, better school performance, less alcohol/drug use and risk-taking behavior among teens, and better family communication.

While families are encouraged to share meals, not every meal has to be a sit-down dinner extravaganza. Notice it is called a family “meal” rather than family “dinner.” Any meal can become the family meal.  Breakfast just might be the meal that works best for your family to have together.  The most important thing about family meals is to make them frequent, fun and family-centered. 

Accomplishing a family meal at least once a day isn’t necessarily easy.  Challenges might include limited budgets, crazy/hectic schedules, family conflicts or not having anything pleasant to talk about, limited cooking skills, or too much for one person to do alone. 

However, there are also ways to overcome the challenges.  NDSU Extension offers practical solutions, strategies and resources that are available via online, social media, and e-mail:

https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable

https://www.facebook.com/ndfamilytable/?fref=ts

Never underestimate the power of the family meal. 

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/dinosaur-extinct-prehistoric-47903/  (downloaded 1/10/17)

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