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Eating together as a family helps children develop healthy habits

Eating together as a family, at least three to five times per week, helps children improve their eating habits, maintain a healthy weight and there is less chance of them developing eating disorders.

While September is an especially busy time for families, The Regional Municipality of York reminds families about the importance of taking time to eat together.

The benefits of eating together go beyond nutrition. Eating together provides an opportunity to teach manners and social skills. It is also linked to better language and literacy development as well as improved performance at school. Teens who spend time eating with their families are less likely to participate in smoking, drinking, substance abuse, fighting and early sexual activity.

Here are some simple tips to help you eat together as a family:

Plan together

  • Schedule time for family meals. The meal does not have to be dinner; try sitting down together for breakfast or a snack
  • Involve your family in planning the weekly menu and grocery shop once a week, stocking your cupboards with the ingredients needed for your meals

Shop together

  • Involve your family in shopping for groceries and teach them how to make healthy food choices in the grocery store

Cook together

  • When families with children cook together and the preparation is fun, it is the first step towards eating together more often

Eat together

  • Connect with your family by turning off the television and other electronic devices
  • Model healthy eating. Children learn about eating by watching their parents and caregivers eat
  • Avoid pressuring children to eat certain foods. Continue to choose what foods to offer, but trust your child to decide which foods to eat and how much

For more information on this or other public health programs, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit

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Media Contact: Samantha Lemieux, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675 ext. 4101 After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533

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