By: Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Director, Health & Well-being, FMI

Picture a grand table beautifully set for a wonderful family meal. All food groups are represented with dishes from across the country full of nutrients, culture, tradition and deliciousness. An open invitation to gather around this family meal table stands with the intent of joining together for great tasting, nourishing food along with very important conversation. Everyone gathered around this table believes in the mission to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. This grand and beautiful table is set for the regular gathering of the USDA MyPlate National Strategic Partners. 

At FMI, we are committed to supporting and promoting the Dietary Guidelines that connect the science of food to the nutrition needs of consumers. We are honored and humbled to sit around this MyPlate partner table with so many other companies and organizations with common goals and national scope and reach. Many of our FMI grocery retailer, manufacturer and product supplier members gather around this same table, along with some of our key community partners. Other MyPlate partner examples include large national groups such as healthcare corporations, media outlets, health professional associations, and restaurant chains.

During September, it was particularly exciting to pull our chair up to this grand table to realize we were surrounded by so many of our Nation Family Meals Month partners! To celebrate the commitment to help Americans stay strong, stories were shared about family meals as an opportunity to boost nutrition and keep us all connected. Sensitive to changing times, financial stress and other hardships, so many National Family Meals Month participants this year included a mirrored focus on the overarching themes of MyPlate: nutrient-density, cost consciousness and health equity.  

Sitting around this table in September, we heard about inspirational meal solutions, ideas and tips – practical, accessible, and respectful for communities from coast to coast. Cooking Matters showcased different families using ingredients and flavors from their cultures of origin with the MyPlate principles to create healthy, delicious meals. The American Bakers Association shared communication strategies to promote nutrient-rich grains for all life stages, and in all family meals to include breakfast. We also heard from a subgroup (Fresh Avocados, McCormick Science Institute, Grain Foods Foundation and the Egg Nutrition Center) developing evidence-based, culturally relevant resources for Hispanic Americans featuring flavor-forward traditional recipe makeovers for MiPlato Your Way. Pork Checkoff, USA Pulses and the Sorghum Checkoff were featured together on to bring balance, taste and nutrition to the center of the plate. Both the Beef Checkoff and National Dairy Council partnered with registered dietitians in many ways to make every bite count with family meals and back-to-school ideas.

As we know, six super successful years of National Family Meals Month have clearly demonstrated that consumers, retailers, suppliers and community collaborators are embracing the encouragement of family meals far beyond the one celebratory month of September with a year-round Family Meals Movement. As we move into 2022, we will continue to gather around the USDA MyPlate partner table to share more nutritious delicious family meals, meaningful stories and very important conversation about improved health and well-being for all Americans.