October 30, 2007 13:26 ET

Adolescents choose fruits and vegetables over junk food

Studies show families that eat meals together are healthier eaters

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Food/Beverage Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2007) - Studies, conducted by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2007, show that there are health benefits to eating frequently together as a family. Children who have three or more family meals per week:

* Have 50 per cent less risk for substance abuse
* Are less likely to smoke
* Are less likely to use alcohol
* Experience increased dietary quality leading to a healthier body

"The sharing of food at meals has been a symbol of family unity, love, connections and communication," says Mary Story PhD, RD, Professor, University of Minnesota.

After surveying over 1500 students, once in high school and later at the age of 20, the researchers found that "…eating family meals together during adolescence resulted in adults who ate more fruit, dark-green and orange vegetables and key nutrients, and drank less soft drinks."

These facts emphasize the importance of families taking time out of their busy schedules to share a meal. Hectic schedules and busy, active lives threaten to erode adolescent health when busy families choose one of several last-minute meal solutions such as fast food or processed meals.

This same study is adamant in encouraging nutrition professionals to exhort families to have meals together as often as reasonably possible. However, for many families, it seems difficult to balance the two. After all, it takes time to prepare and eat a meal. This explains why people choose meals that need little or no preparation.

Recognizing the importance of eating together as a family unit is not new to SupperWorks, Canada's premiere meal preparation franchise; they also understand nutrition.

"We've been helping families have more time together since we opened our first store - and after opening our twelfth store the trend continues," says Joni Lien, Co-founder of SupperWorks. "In fact 'love great food and family time,' is one of our core messages, and was a motivating factor for establishing SupperWorks."

"I came in… [to SupperWorks] with my son Christopher and we both had a wonderful time. Best of all, Christopher can't wait to try out everything we made," says Monika Moravan. "I cooked the BBQ Pulled Chicken in my rice cooker overnight, he tried it for breakfast and decided to have it in a thermos for his lunch today at school. This from a kid who wouldn't eat chicken in any form other than chicken fingers!"

In a busy world with hectic, conflicting schedules, the less time it takes to prepare meals, the more time there is available for family. The new TBS comedy series, The Bill Engvall Show, recognizes this fact and features the family gathering at the dinner table for mealtime.

"Supperworks is definitely the best option for families who have little time to prepare meals and who find themselves eating less healthy alternatives or dining out on a regular basis," says a regular customer of SupperWorks' Newmarket location. "They make cooking meals easy, as each meal comes with a pre-printed label for cooking instructions and suggestions for serving." IN: FOOD, RETAIL, SOCIAL

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