When was the last time you had a family mealtime together? I don't mean sitting in the car munching on burgers from the drive-through. I mean sitting down at the table and sharing a home-cooked meal.

If you can't remember when you last enjoyed a family mealtime, make plans to have them more often. Experts have found - and continue to discover - plenty of benefits for both children and adults when they share a family dinnertime together at least three times a week.

A wonderful service that I have found and use on a regular basis is Dine Without Whine. They create family friendly weekly menu planners that help make my dinner time easier.

Here are 10 reasons why you should have a family mealtime more often:

Good For The Body
1. When families eat together, everyone tends to eat healthier. People who have frequent family meals consume more calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, C and E. It could be because home-cooked meals are healthier than fast food and restaurant meals. (Source: Archives of Family Medicine)

2. Children tend to eat more fruits and vegetables when they frequently have dinner with their families. They also tend to eat fewer snack foods. (Source: American Dietetic Association)

3. Children in families who eat dinner together are less likely to be overweight (Source: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine). This makes sense, given the findings in #1 and #2 above.

Good For The Brain
4. Children from families who eat meals together get better grades than their peers who don't have lots of family meal times (Source: Lou Harris-Reader's Digest National Poll). So family dinners are not only good for the body; they're also good for the brain.

5. When families eat together frequently, children have better language skills compared to kids from families who don't have family mealtimes often. (Source: Harvard University)

Good For Emotional Health
6. Children of families who eat together report feeling happier and are more optimistic about the future, than their peers who have infrequent family meals. (Source: Lou Harris-Reader's Digest National Poll)

7. Teenagers are less likely to use drugs, smoke, and drink alcoholic drinks, when their families eat together regularly. (Source: Columbia University)

8. It may come as a surprise, but among Moms who work outside the home, those who have family mealtimes reported feeling less stress than those who had family dinners less often. (Source: Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal)

9. The more often teen girls had meals with their families, the less likely they were to have symptoms of depression and suicidal behaviors. (Source: University of Minnesota)

Good For Family Bonding
10. Eating together gives family members the chance to communicate and build relationships, something that both adults and children appreciate very much. (Source: Nutrition Education Network of Washington & Oprah Winfrey's "Family Dinner Experiment")

I hope these reasons motivate you and your family to try and have family mealtimes more often. We're all busy - even children have plenty of after-school activities. But as the list above shows, family meals are worth every effort we put into them.

Author's Bio: 

Alicia Bowyer is a Certified Family Manager Coach and is passionate about providing tips for moms to succeed at the most important job they will ever have. Alicia equips moms with the help and advice they need using the Family Manager concept of adopting the skills and strategies successful business managers use to create a smoothly running home.