Frequent family meals tied to physical, social and psychological benefits

Dr. Dana Frazine suggests shooting for at least three "family meals" per week. 

August is Role Modeling Month. As that month comes to a close, doctors say family meals are a great opportunity for parents to demonstrate healthy eating habits.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG spoke with SSM Health pediatrician Dr. Dana Frazine about the benefits of making time to cook at home and eat together.

"Families who eat at least 3 meals a week together, it's been associated with healthier children," she said.

That also means kids who eat at home with their families are less likely to be obese and less likely to suffer from eating disorders, according to Dr. Frazine. She also said those children are more likely to develop emotional and psychological maturity.

"Instead of sitting around the TV, you're sitting around the table together," she said. "Kids who talk about their day and share stories and ask others about how their day went, they're just better adapted to their social environment." Dr. Frazine said she knows all too well cooking at home and gathering every family member for a meal isn't always a walk in the park.

As a mom to two young kids herself, she said family meals at her house can be quite a challenge with her two year old son. "He wants to sit on my lap, he wants to eat off my plate, but it's still good," she said.

No matter how crazy family meals might get, Dr. Frazine said it's well worth the trouble. "I think one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to teach them to appreciate healthy food instead of junk food, and it's a gift that will stay with them the rest of their life," she said.

Watch KRCG 13 at 5 p.m. next Friday for the next Family First segment - we'll talk to a physician advisor about the benefits of creating a calendar as the school year gets underway.

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