Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why we don't eat cupcakes

We eat dinner as a family whenever possible. And although I have been a little slack about it lately, we try to eat our meals family style because they teach children about portion control.

What I didn't consider is that serving meals family style also teaches children about sharing.

Researchers conducted a survey of 466 Belgian students, and found links between sharing food at home-cooked family meals and altruistic behaviors. Students who ate meals with family members were more likely to volunteer, share their belongings and even give up their seat to a stranger on a bus.

The researchers were quick to point out that this behavior is seen when there is food on the table to share - so it doesn't work in situations where everyone orders their own entrees at a restaurant. But even small shared items - like a bowl of bread - helps children navigate fairness and shared goods.

And that brings us back to cake. As the researchers point out - a cupcake is a single serving, whereas cake makes children think about equality of sizing and frosting proportions. Cake is more communal. So, cake is king of desserts in our household. (And come on, who doesn't want an excuse to eat cake?)

Do you encourage your children to share their food? Let me know in the comments.

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