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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Nov. 10, 2012) -For many families, dinner time is complicated by work, homework, kids' sporting events and more. And a lot of times, it just seems nearly impossible to cook a dinner and sit down around the table to eat as a family.

However there are numerous studies that prove family mealshave benefits for every member of the family, especially for the kids.

According to nutritionist Ellyn Satter with Centers for Youth and Children, children and teens who have regular meals with their families eat better, have higher self esteem, get along better with others, perform better in school and are less likely to be overweight, abuse drugs, smoke, or have teen sex.

Of course the biggest challenge in today's hectic world is how to make sure the family gets together every night for a meal. Satter offers these tips:

  • Review your weekly schedule
  • Establish a regular time for each day
  • Plan ahead where you will eat
  • Less what to eat and more when to eat
  • Keep it simple
  • Start by eating what you eat now
  • Focus on the regularity of time for meals
  • A meal is a meal if you sit down together

Meal times should be a pleasant; a time to talk and enjoy. Opt for technology free meals by turning off the television, phones and smart devices. Satter says to focus on each other as time together each day will not only benefit your physical health, it will benefit your social and emotional wellness too.

For recipe ideas,followCenters for Youth and Families on Facebook for weekly meal ideas and resources.

(Source: Centers for Youth and Families)