Wednesday, October 17, 2007

TV Dinners: Good or Bad?

One of my many guilty pleasures is watching TV while I fold laundry. So one night right before dinner I had some laundry to get through and I started flipping around. Of course, the second my kids see the laundry basket they immediately crowd around to see if I will settle on some boring news show, or something that is actually good. (The night I found "King Kong" right at the beginning of the dinosaur stampede gave them eternal hope.)

On this night I came across a semi-reality show that took these unwanted dogs and placed them with dog trainers who specialized in training that particular breed. So the border collie who had been kicked out of three homes cause it was so crazy went to a real sheep farm, and the bloodhound who had dug through a chair to get to the bone it could smell underneath the chair went to a detective who trained bloodhounds. My entire family, ages 4-40, was hooked. We love dogs.

I'm getting to the food part.

We ended up eating dinner around the show, all of us agog and thrilled at watching these dogs get rehabilitated. It was so great.

But was this bad? So much for my family dinner fixation, right? Around the TV?

According to a piece in yesterday's Science Times, we're okay. We're still on track with the family dinner brigade. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that whether you're watching "The Simpsons' or sitting around a candlelit table, as long as you're eating together, the kids are more likely to eat more vegetables and other good food, and less likely to become drug addicts, cigarette smokers, potheads, surly teenagers or devil worshippers. Okay that's not exactly how they put it, but you get the point.

According to the article, by Tara Parker-Pope, "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."

Hey, that's my line.

It's all good to know, and I will keep it in the back of my mind for the day when a new and improved "Man vs Wild" comes back on the air. And we will keep eating together.

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