Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Why it's so important to eat together -- and how to find the time

My fondest memories are times spent lingering around the kitchen table with family and friends, sharing meals and lively conversation.

When I was a child, my parents upheld the ritual of family dinners. The dinner table was revered, with rules prohibiting lecturing, discipline, curlers, bathrobes, undershirts -- anything less than proper attire and behavior. My siblings and I grew up cherishing the undivided attention and love that accompanied the ritual, as well as Mom's homey "cream-of-mushroom-soup" meals.

The tradition has now been passed along to my children, who value and look forward to family meals.

Connections and Communication

Sitting down for a family meal is a symbol of love, connections, and communication. Family meals reflect involved parents, who want the opportunity both to talk and to listen to what their kids have to say. It's very comforting to children to know that their parents want to know what's going on in their lives.

Mealtimes can provide quality time for the whole household, fostering family unity and trust, and providing a setting for moral and intellectual discussions that reflect family values. Family meals encourage communication skills, such as patient listening and expressing opinions respectfully. Chatting around the dinner table encourages kids to talk to their parents about sensitive issues. This is also a time to reinforce family traditions and cultural heritage.

Family meals may actually enhance the emotional well-being of teens. A study reported in the 2003 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that adolescents who frequently sat down to family meals had better grades, less depression, and were less likely to drink alcohol, smoke, or use marijuana than kids who ate with their families less than twice a week.

Power Up the Plate

But the benefits of family meals go beyond the warm fuzzy feelings and good communication that happen when we dine together.

Studies verify what some might consider common sense: families that eat together eat more healthfully, consuming less fast food, soft drinks, and fat and more fruits and vegetables. And developing good eating habits early on can help your children be healthier for the rest of their lives.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Healthy Recipe Finder