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Eat Better, Eat Together

October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month, which invites a question. Do you and your family sit down together for meals on a regular basis? Sadly, for many Americans, this is all but a lost art. According to a 2003 Gallup Poll, less than 50% of U.S. families eat dinner together at home 4–6 times per week, while 24% manage to do so only 3 times weekly–or even less.

This may be partially explained by the fact that 78% of women with children between ages 6 and 17 work outside the home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, 31% of households with children are single–parent families–up from 13% in 1970. Along with parents putting in long hours, many kids are busy with after school activities. With everyone getting home late, there’s simply less time for lengthy food preparation.

Nonetheless, making an effort to eat together is important on many levels, starting with healthy family communication. In fact, meal time might be one of the few chances parents have to get daily updates from their kids. One study found that teens who dine with their families two nights a week (or less) are twice as likely to take drugs, more likely to be “high stress”, more inclined to be “bored”, and less likely to perform well in school than teens that eat with their families 5 to 7 times a week.1

Meals at home also offer a chance to enjoy healthy food together, offering a subtle lesson in proper nutrition. The rising national tide of youth obesity may well be linked to the fact that 20% of teenagers age 13 to 17 eat fast food either “every day” or “several times a week.”2

How can you encourage more shared family dining? Busy families may need to schedule meals, but it’s worth it. Along with dinner, seek out other opportunities too–especially on weekends, when routines are more relaxed. Be sure you stock basic staples to simplify food prep, like whey protein for morning shakes, fresh/frozen produce, turkey/veggie burgers, chicken breasts/franks, seafood, brown/wild rice, etc.

Since people of all ages often enjoy cooking, encourage everyone in the family to learn a special “signature” dish only they make, then alternate “chefs” each night. Once you get in the groove of dining together, you’ll not only strengthen your connections, but you may also find you have a happier, healthier family over time as a result.

1 http://www.casacolumbia.org/upload/2010/20100922familydinners6.pdf
2 August 2003 Gallup Youth Survey

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EnergyFirst, a leading company in the all-natural protein and supplement industry, was founded in 1997. We, at EnergyFirst, believe that everyone can benefit from drinking a protein shake whether the goal is optimal nutrition in a meal replacement, an easy and healthy breakfast alternative, a weight loss aid, or a protein supplement for athletes. We also believe that your protein shake should be 100% natural and delicious. Nutritionist, educator, athlete, and EnergyFirst's CEO, Gerry Morton is committed to providing customers with all natural, science-based, effective products for optimal nutrition, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle.

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