PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Between soccer matches, band practice and your family’s complicated schedules, it may seem impossible to sit down for dinner.
But you may be surprised at how important it could be for your kids.
Deepak Nayyar’s family in Pine Township tries to do it, despite the obstacles.
“She has a swimming class and soccer classes. He has soccer classes, but we make it a point, like every evening [to] get together eat at the same time,” he says.
Dr. Dana Rofey at Children’s Hospital says it’s worth the effort.
“For families that eat together, their children are less likely to be overweight,” said Dr. Rofey.
That’s right, less likely to be overweight because kids are more likely to eat healthfully.
And that’s not all. Dr. Rofey says studies show kids are more likely to stay out of trouble.
“High risk behaviors – like delinquency, drug, alcohol use,” Dr. Rofey said. “We usually say that families that eat together stay together.
Beth Sutton, her husband and their daughters Caroline and Katie have dinner together as often as possible.
“With our work schedules and the girls’ busy activity schedules and school, probably at least three days a week, four days on a good week,” says Sutton.
She’s found that a system called the “Fresh 20” helps her out.
Melissa Lanz, the woman behind it, puts together a mealtime roadmap of sorts for busy parents.
“You can do a lot of the prep prior to the day you’re eating it, so the idea is to get things ready on Sunday and have minimal cooking time during the week,” she says.
Another online dinner plan called “The Six O’clock Scramble” is challenging families to eat together at least three times a week.
And other parents are finding prepared foods can make it easier.
Prepared foods continue to be an area of growth for grocery stores. At Market District in Pine Township, they make pizza down there roast chickens.
Finally, experts say it’s important to turn off the television and other electronics during dinner.
“It’s a really great opportunity for my husband and I to really take a minute and to really connect,” Sutton said.