Long-Term Health Benefits Shown from Eating Meals at Home as a Family

Parmesan Crusted Pollock is a healthy, family-friendly dish perfect to make for National Family Meals Month.

Regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes we all want for our children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and weight, and less risky behavior. National Family Meals Month is a nationwide celebration designed to underscore the benefits of family meals, and, this September, the team from Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) is accepting the challenge and encouraging all Americans to pledge to share one more meal at home per week with our families.

Numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family, yet, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night.

“Juggling the demands of a busy, modern life often comes at the expense of family mealtime at home,” said Susan Borra, RD, executive director of the FMI Foundation, which coordinates this effort. “Research shows family meals support positive impacts on health and wellness, including reduced obesity rates, fewer eating disorders, less risky behaviors among teens and lower rates of diabetes among adults. FMI Foundation’s goal, through National Family Meals Month, is to make families stronger by encouraging them to share just one more meal at home per week.”

Making and eating dinner at home is one way families can stay connected and share their daily experiences together as a family while enjoying a nutritious meal. “When you cook your own meals, you know what you’re putting into your food, which is often healthier — and if you get your kids involved in cooking, they feel proud of helping and are more likely to eat wholesome foods,” said Linda Cornish, president of SNP.

Seafood is fast and easy to prepare for dinner, with most dishes taking about 15 minutes to prepare — even from frozen. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute offers a whole series of tasty recipes called Cook it Frozen. And SNP offers several tips and ideas for cooking healthy, balanced meals at home.

Fish and shellfish are good sources of lean protein, low in saturated fat and rich in vitamins and minerals, most notably the omega-3 fatty…

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