September 16, 2020

The Benefits of Eating Family Meals

The benefits of family meals including quality time together, encouraging kids to try new and healthy foods, communication and being more connected.

Growing up, we ate all of our meals together as a family. We weren't at different sporting events or activities that made it so that we couldn't enjoy a family meal together. Nowadays, with so many activities going on, it can make it hard to eat together. In my little family of 5, we prioritize family meals because it gives us the ability to spend quality time together, encourages my kids to eat well and more. All great benefits that are super important to me! September is National Family Meals Month and I partnered with the FMI Foundation to share why family meals are so important.

I invite you to join us at a Hernandez family dinner by reading this post! We are having spaghetti with a homemade cherry tomato sauce with garden tomatoes and garden summer squash, onions and garlic topped with Parmesan cheese with a side of roasted broccoli and green beans.

The Benefits of Eating Family Meals

Just keeping it real sharing the silliness that happens at our dinners!

1. Quality time together

My very favorite part about family meals is the quality time together. Silly conversations that are had at the table, more serious teaching moments, the kids seeing mom and dad talking and asking each other about their day, it's all so beneficial. The laughter that happens at each meal with my family is my favorite. I am such a firm believer that this time spent at the table is so essential for quality relationships and teaching kids manners, about relationships, how to talk to another person and more.

2. Teach kids about nutrition

As a dietitian, I know how important nutrition is and I like pointing out little things about nutrition to the kids in subtle ways. We say that the protein on their plate makes them strong. We say that the yogurt that they are eating helps their bones, etc. Family meals are a great time to model healthy eating. When mom is eating a big salad with a rainbow of veggies on it, the kids are going to be more likely to enjoy those healthy foods too. Family meals have always been one of the best healthy habits to have which is part of the reason we prioritize them.

3. Keep families connected

While everyone is going about their busy days- kids in school, parents working, family meals helps bring everyone together and help us to stay connected. Especially during these times where people may be socially distanced from others, it is important to stay connected to others for emotional health. Since family meals help with communication and relationships, they can help us to prepare for uncertainty and help to manage difficult things that we may experience in life.

4. Try new foods

When you are cooking at home, it can be fun to try new foods. My kids love trying all different kinds of foods and when they help in the kitchen, they are even more likely to want to eat different meals. I recently learned from a new study "Home Cooking in America 2020" that during the pandemic, 40% of Americans say that they are cooking more, 23% are cooking more meals in advance and 18% are trying new dishes more often. I love that! Also, when you cook at home, it often is healthier than eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. 

Family meals also help kids eat more fruits and veggies which is so important for health and overall nutrition. September is also National Fruits and Veggies month so along with family meals, this is awesome to focus on better nutrition. Anytime anyone can eat more produce, the better.

5. Family meals help with communication

During our family meals, my kids hear Troy and I talk about all kinds of things. Issues with work, conversations that we have had with other people and so much more. They hear good things and they hear hard things we are struggling with. They also see how we talk to each other. When I am worried about something, my kids hear how Troy is comforting and supportive. 

It helps to teach them how to talk to others and teaches a lot about emotions and different feelings. I am all about talking out any issue you may have and want my children to feel very comfortable talking to us about anything. According to the Journal of Nutrition and Education Behavior, family meals help with communication and being connected.

If you're already having lots of meals with your family, I encourage you to keep it up. If it has been hard to have meals together as a family because of busy schedules, I encourage you to find time to have some meals together as family because it can be so beneficial. Visit for more information on how to stay strong with family meals.

This post is sponsored by the FMI Foundation.

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