Every November, millions of American families gather together to share a meal on Thanksgiving. This tradition started in the late 17th century on American shores when European immigrants celebrated their first successful harvest and shared a meal with the Native Americans who taught them their local farming and hunting practices.
Today, recognized as a national holiday, Thanksgiving provides families a day out of the year to take a moment to share a meal with each other. For many families, sharing a meal might be challenging, and supporting the family during a meal time is so important, not only on Thanksgiving but throughout the year.
Family meals do much more than provide nutrition. They provide a space for learning, and are fundamental to the family core in creating a space for sharing family traditions and stories. In children’s health, three or more family meals in a week has been linked with preventing nutrition-health related problems including issues of overweight, unhealthy eating, and disordered eating, and have been shown to increase the opportunities for eating healthy foods. Children’s Aid aims to support children and their families from the cradle to and through college and career, and fully supports family-style meals. This Thanksgiving, and at any family meal, try to incorporate the following:
- Share a family story at the table. Children who know their histories have been shown to have more resiliency and feel more connected to their families than kids who don’t.
- Eat veggies and foods you like. Children learn from your example! If you are honest with your food choices and try new things, children will likely follow suit.
The Go!Healthy team at Children’s Aid works to support family meals by having hands-on fun cooking and nutrition activities with kids, parents, grandparents, and staff around family meals, and provides practical ways to include healthy food options. This fall, the Go!Healthy team supported healthy family meals by providing opportunities for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at the Food Box program, and hosted walks to neighboring farmers’ markets throughout the regions.
This Thanksgiving, the Go!Healthy team would like to share their famous cranberry sauce recipe with you!