The benefits of family meals have become so evident that Family Meals Month, which is recognized in September, has now become the Family Meals Movement™. Having more meals together is a healthy goal for all and it is an easy and enjoyable way to spend time with those we love, while encouraging both kids and adults to make nourishing food choices that support wellbeing. Over three decades of research have shown that regular family meals offer a wide variety of physical, social-emotional and academic benefits. Some of these specific benefits include:
- Better academic performance for kids
- Higher self-esteem
- Greater sense of resilience
- Lower risk of substance abuse
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Lower risk of depression
- Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
- Lower rates of obesity
- Better cardiovascular health in teens
- Bigger vocabulary in preschoolers
- Healthier eating patterns in young adults
- Better nutrition with more fruits and vegetables and less fast food
One thing that is often missing from mealtime is enough fiber. In fact, 95% of American adults and children don’t consume enough fiber on a daily basis. One way to fiber up your meals is by including Michigan Beans! Beans are an excellent source of fiber supplying 6 to 10 grams per half cup serving, depending on the type of bean. They also contain many beneficial nutrients like protein and potassium. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating about 3 cups of legumes, including beans, per week. If you eat about ½ cup of beans every day, you’ll meet the weekly Dietary Guidelines. USDA MyPlate guidelines count beans as both a vegetable and a plant-based protein source, and so it is not hard to put more beans in your meal plans.
To add both fiber and flavor to your next family meal, try our delicious recipes below. Developed by Chef Amanda Leatherman for the Michigan Bean Commission, these recipes get two thumbs up!