Chicken and Mashed Potatoes with a Side of Guilt

For years, 18 to be exact, I have been made to feel guilty for having the television on while my family had dinner together.

I really felt it was an accomplishment to have all my children sit down as a family for dinner seven nights a week, and we continue that practice even now – regardless of whether the TV was on or not.. Our big dining table is in our great room – as is the television. So, having the television stay on just seemed a natural extension of our family life.

I always make sure that family-friendly fare is being broadcast, and more times than not, the shows I choose open up lines of communication between me and my children at the dining table. But each and every one of those meals brought a modicum of guilt as a side dish.

However, I discovered a news article yesterday while doing some research for another project, and I was vindicated! According to an article in the New York Times, “the family meal is what counts, TV on or off.” Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that families ate healthy with or without TV. According to the article, “While many parents worry about what their kids are eating — vegetables versus junk — a voluminous body of research suggests that the best strategy for improving a child’s diet is simply putting food on the table and sitting down together to eat it. ”

So there! When we sit down to our healthy dinner tonight, we’ll be watching something TIVO captured last night when everyone was off doing their homework, and we’ll be enjoying at least thirty minutes of family time together – this time without that serving of guilt!

Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Sunday and Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.

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