Family dinner: Dynamite home cookin'
Family dinners can serve up drama and comedy, but they're rarely as fraught or funny as when Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams) insinuates herself into his (we know, the pronouns are confusing!) ex-wife's birthday party so she/he could torpedo the new boyfriend with a pepper-laced entree.
What's really true about family dinnertime is that sharing a sit-down dinner three or more days a week can transform everyone's health and brighten your children's future. If lowering blood pressure and reducing cancer and heart disease risk isn't incentive enough, consider this: Dishing up dinner will improve your family ties; boost your kids' health, self-esteem and grades; and rev up your love life. Pass the broccoli, please!
Here are the facts:
--14 percent of teens who have family dinners five to seven times a week try cigarettes, and 12 percent try marijuana. But 35 percent of kids who have two (or fewer) meals a week with the family smoke tobacco and marijuana.
--Home-cooked meals contain less fat and more essential nutrients than the average fast-food chow (33 percent of single-serving drive-thru meals deliver more than half a day's recommended caloric intake).
--With dinner at home, you control the portion sizes and slow down the pace of your meal -- a simple way to prevent overeating. Eating dinner together three or more times a week delivers a 12 percent cut in the risk that you and your kids will be overweight and delivers a 24 percent increase in healthy foods.
Remember: Good health = smarter kids, and more burning passion (and burning calories) for mom and dad.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.