Back-to-school tradition: Start, resume, or continue having family meals together. Research has found that family dinners, away from a TV, has many important benefits, including: (1) Increased repertoire of foods, including more nutritious foods.🍎🌽🍗 This can lead to better weight management as teens and healthier eating as an adult. I recently recommended family meals to a parent of a child with limited food intake. The father immediately recognized an increase in his daughter's consumption, as she now has models to imitate. (2) Improved vocabulary. Family meals can increase the vocabulary of young children, more than reading aloud to them. 😯 Crazy, right? This is another reason I stress not giving kids phones or tablets at restaurants. Family conversations provide better learning opportunities. (3)Higher achievement scores. 📖 School aged children and teenagers actually received better grades when most nights included family meals. (4) Decreased high risk behaviors as teens. Teenagers who had family meals were less likely to do drugs, smoke, or have sex. (5) Better mental health among teens.🧠 Teens, who had family meals, were less likely to have depression or suicidal thoughts, and were more likely to have a positive outlook on life.