Preparing and eating dinner at home with your family has mental and nutritional benefits.You’re saddled beneath your daily commute, grocery shopping and extracurricular activities. When it’s all said and done, sitting down for a meal together — as a family– can feel impossible!

Our on-the-go schedules make it convenient to grab a breakfast bar on-the-go, nix lunch altogether, rummage in our desk drawers for a midday snack or snag something quick from a fast food counter. Then, when it’s dinnertime, we’re often left wondering how we’re going to suffice.

Why Dinner is a Priority, Too. 

What happens when you’re on-the-go and tight on time? For dinner, it often means hitting the drive thru more often than you’d like or taking your family to dine out away from home. That generally translates to bigger portion sizes, less nutritious food and a lot of extra calories.

On the other hand, studies show that preparing more meals at home and enjoying them as a family can have significant health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Better Portion Control

When dining out, portion sizes are typically a lot larger than you need. If you aren’t mindful of how much you’re consuming, this can lead to overeating and surplus calories. But when you prepare your own food at home, you can control the amount you put on your plate as well as your family’s plate and save extra food for lunch/dinner leftovers.

More Money Saved

Feeding a family isn’t cheap, especially if healthy food is a priority in your family diet. Convenience and restaurant food costs add up! While $20 at a fast food restaurant can buy you and your family a couple of meals for dinner, that same $20 can stretch further at a grocery store. By investing in the ingredients you need to fully stock your kitchen with nutritious foods for the week, your wallet might just catch a break.

Enjoy Greater Variety

Food is fun because it tastes good, but it tastes even better when you get to explore your creative side in the kitchen. Your options are limited when you dine out because you’re forced to pick from a predefined menu. Making your own food, however, lets you play around with new ingredients, new pairings and new meals altogether. It’s fun for your whole family!

Grab the Chance to Bond

After a long and stressful day, there sometimes isn’t anything more satisfying than spending quality time with your loved ones. Cooking and eating together can give you the chance to reconnect, talk about your day and enjoy each other’s company. Remove in-home distractions and don’t worry about drive thru lines or crowded restaurants.

Control Your Ingredients

By preparing food at home, you can control what gets on your plate. From main entrees, side dishes and even condiments – YOU decide what to serve. This power can help support healthier food choices and ensure that you’re fueling your family with nutritious foods. By customizing your meals to suit your family’s needs, you’re putting the ball in YOUR court!

So, before you make the decision to pack your family in the car and head out to eat, consider how preparing dinner at home together can be a healthier choice overall for your family unit!