Family Dinners Matter

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

October: Eat Better, Eat Together Month

We are now full swing into the school year, and we all know what that means… homework, sports practices, and an earlier bedtime for all. There could be several other barriers thrown in the mix as well such as work shifts, not liking the same foods, or lack of cooking skills or planning. Life can get hectic, and with all of these reasons, it can be difficult to make family meals happen during the week.

In order to break through the barriers and make family meals easy and more enjoyable, try one of the following:

  • Family meals together can be at any time of the day–do what works best for your family.
  • Keep interactions positive–it’s not the time to bring up a bad grade or argue about other things.
  • Involve kids in planning and meal prep to help them feel involved.
  • Designate one day a week to offer new foods or try new recipes.
  • Be prepared. Choose one or two more intensive meals, then fill in with simple meals like homemade pizza, spaghetti, or chicken and vegetables.
  • Don’t allow electronics at the table.
  • Work up to at least four meals together per week.

Eating together has many benefits: it provides stability, it is an opportunity for increased communication, it can relieve stress, and best of all, it’s fun! Here are a couple reasons why you should turn National Eat Better, Eat Together Month into an all-year event:

1. Family Dinners Mean Better Family Relationships

Allowing conversation to take place at the dinner table will help the family build a stronger bond with each other. No matter what meal you are enjoying together, you’ll learn to appreciate that opportunity to catch-up with one another.

2.  Family Meals Lead to Healthier Food Choices

We tend to mimic eating patterns of those we are close to, so make sure you set a good example and offer healthy options. Preparing and sharing meals together is a great way to show and teach your children about healthy food choices. It also gives opportunities to expose kids or other family members to new foods and expand their tastes.  If showing kids to eat healthy is this easy, why wouldn’t you have family meals?

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3. Eating Together Leads to Better Grades

Numerous studies report a link between family meals and academics.  Children who share meals with their family are more likely to do better in school. This could be explained because having parents who ask what’s going on at school will encourage them to do better and handle any problems that arise in an appropriate manner.

4. Family Dinners Lead to Greater Happiness

Family meals can bring a sense of love, belonging, and security to a child’s life. Research shows that children who eat with their parents regularly are more likely to develop emotional strength and better mental health. This can also lead to families having less stress and living happier lives.

Start Eating Together!

Family meals are a tradition that can make a big difference in your family’s health. They provide meaningful opportunities for everyone to connect and learn from each other. Make family meals a priority and learn to cherish the time you have together. That dining room table, kitchen table or breakfast nook is a space meant for laughter, conversation, eating, and togetherness. Use it!

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