They may also help adolescents develop healthy eating habits, says a University of Minnesota study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Researchers found that children aged 11 to 18 who joined their families for meals ate more fruits, vegetables, grains and nutrient-dense foods than adolescents who ate separately from their families.
The study also found that teens who sat down to at least seven family meals a week ate fewer snack foods than teens who took part in fewer family meals.
Boys ate more family meals than girls, and middle school kids ate more family meals than high school students.
Asian-American families, families whose mothers didn't work and families with higher socioeconomic status also ate more meals together, the study found.
The researchers say the finding suggests dieteticians dealing with adolescents and their families need to find ways to increase the number of family meals.
Here's where you can learn more about many different areas of teen health.