A key ingredient in the recipe for a happy family is time spent around the dinner table. Making time for family dinners isn’t just a great opportunity to catch up and spend quality time with your loved ones though, extensive research has demonstrated a wealth of physical and mental health benefits associated with regular family dinners.
“There have been more than 20 years of dozens of studies that document that family dinners are great for the body, the physical health, the brain and academic performance, and the spirit or the mental health,” says Anne Fishel, executive director of the Family Dinner Project, a nonprofit committed to helping families reap the benefits of time spent eating together and focusing on food, fun and conversation about things that matter.
“Kids who grow up having family dinners, when they’re on their own tend to eat more healthily and to have lower rates of obesity, Fishel says. “Regular family dinners are associated with lower rates of depression, and anxiety, and substance abuse, and eating disorders, and tobacco use, and early teenage pregnancy, and higher rates of resilience and higher self esteem.”
To help your family prioritize family dinners, we’re starting a series of stories and recipes shared by chefs, cookbook authors, members of the community, and their families to help you have Better Family Dinners.