CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mealtime can do more than just a body good.
According to Registered Dietician Nutritionist Debbie Petitpain, sitting down together for a meal as a family builds kids up both emotionally and socially.
“A lot of that comes from the idea that you create a space of how to share anything from ‘How’s your day?’ to different personal relationships,” says Petitpain.
For little ones, Petitpain says that chatting at the dinner table can help them form words early on.
As for teens Petitpain says there are advantages too.
“There’s so many benefits with small children being exposed to a wider vocabulary to having greater word choice at a young age. Adolescents are less likely to engage in risky behavior like drug and alcohol use,” says Petitpain.
Petitpain says if that family meal can’t work at dinner there are still other ways to get it in.
“Petitipain says the trick is that families are busy and going in a million directions, so if the family meal does not work at dinner do it at breakfast or as a brunch on the weekend,” says Petitpain.
When eating together, Petitipain says do it without extra distractions.
“So that means no TV and no smart phones but really giving your undivided attention. Spending time at the table, there is no substitute for it. But if that doesn’t work, find a different time, or actually even ready before bed together,” says Petitpain.
Petitpain also says families who eat regular meals together eat more fruits veggies as well as fewer fried foods and soda.