Between school work, sports, part-time jobs and friends, it can be hard to find enough time for everything. But don’t short-change family dinners. Sitting down to dinner with your family gives you a chance to talk to your parents. You can talk about what’s going on in your life. Maybe there’s a class you’re struggling with or you’re feeling pressure from friends. Studies show that teens who eat dinner with their families frequently tend to:
- Develop better eating habits. Eating well as a teenager may help you eat better as an adult. One study showed that teens who regularly ate dinner with their families went on to drink fewer soft drinks and eat more fruit and vegetables by age 20.*
- Say no to drugs and alcohol. Teens who have frequent family dinners are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. That’s according to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
- Earn better grades. Of the teens surveyed by CASA who eat dinner with their families frequently, 64% earn mostly A’s and B’s, and only 12% earn mostly C’s or less.
Help your family come together for dinner. Offer to help plan or fix meals. Choose simple and quick recipes like those at www.kidshealth.org/teen/recipes. Even helping clean up after a meal can make family dinners easier.
Eating on the run or out with friends can also be expensive compared to having dinner at home. Eat with your family and deposit the money you save in your savings account.
- * Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2007.
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