September is National Family Meals Month. Thousands of studies have shown that frequent family meals lead to better nutrition and family dynamics. The communication and relationship skills learned at family meals can help us handle life’s tough situations. Eating together as a family improves self-esteem and gives family members a sense of wellbeing and keeps kids out of trouble: the more family meals that kids share, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, or using marijuana. And kids who eat meals with their families up to four times a week have been shown to have higher test scores and succeed in school.
Over eighty percent of Americans surveyed are eating together more often since the COVID pandemic began. Now that life is getting busier again, it is a great idea to try to continue regular family meals. Is everyone busy in the evenings? Try eating breakfast together before everyone starts their day. Or try to get together for brunch or an early dinner on the weekends.
Family Meals doesn’t just mean a mom, dad, and two kids sitting around the table! A family meal can be with anyone you live with and consider family: roommates, domestic partners, single parents and kids, grandparents and grandchildren. People who live alone may even consider having virtual dinners with loved ones!
How can you simplify family meals? Start planning on Sundays and figure out what meals will work for everyone to sit down together. Encourage all household members to help select the menu (even kids!). Meals don’t have to be complicated! Try soup and sandwiches with a side of fruit or breakfast for dinner on nights when you are short on time.
Looking for more family meal inspiration? The nutritionists at Martins/The GIANT Company offer free, virtual nutrition classes! There is something for everyone! Check out our schedule and sign up here: The GIANT Company Nutritionists Events | Eventbrite