MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It is important that families spend more time together, and one of the best times to do that is dinner time. Dr. Anne K. Fishel is a co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, which emphasizes the benefits of dining as a family.
She states: "Over the past 15 years researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a family meal is good for the spirit and the brain. Recent studies link regular family dinners with many behaviors that parents pray for: lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem."
My parents insisted we have daily family meals. From personal experience, however, I have to admit the higher grade point average results are not universal. Studies also indicate that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and regular family meals lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents.
Families who eat dinner together five nights a week reap great benefits, but there is no magic number, and any meal counts.
Everyone benefits from family time, especially a meal. Here's a fun suggestion: Make one dinner a week Viking night, regardless of what you prepare. Put the food on the plates, but use no utensils. I promise it will be fun and will certainly start up a conversation.