Join the Movement!

homepage-inset-1

Family meals are the foundation for a healthy nation.


People who eat more meals together eat more fruits and vegetables, and have better diets in general. But did you know that family meals improve family connectedness, communication, expressiveness and problem solving too? No matter how you define family, you can Stay Strong with Family Meals.


What is the Family Meals Movement?

What began as a campaign to shine a light on the importance of family meals during one month in 2015 has grown exponentially ever since. Hundreds of health professionals, community groups, retailers and manufacturers have embraced the concept and have started to promote family meals throughout the year.

The stay-at-home realities of the global pandemic created increased opportunities for family meals resulting in new-found awareness and appreciation for the benefits of eating together.

The month of September will continue to serve as an opportunity to accentuate the value of family meals. However, it is clear that support of family meals has evolved to be far more significant. Tt has become a social movement – The #FamilyMealsMovement.

What is National Family Meals Month?

Each September, our country celebrates National Family Meals Month™ - a nationwide event designed to support families in enjoying more meals together using items purchased at the grocery store and, as a result, reap the many health and social benefits of doing so. 

The aim is simple: commit to staying strong with family meals. You can do this by pledging to have one more meal together, at home, per week. We know this isn't always easily done. That’s where we come in. You bring the desire and we bring the support. 

September is the perfect month to join in the movement and to commit to one more meal at home per week this September for #FamilyMealsMonth!

homepage-inset-2

Why Do Family Meals Matter?

families like yours are joining in The #familyMealsMovement and seeing the benefits. In fact, more than 8 in 10 of those seeing the National Family Meals Month™ campaign say that it is important and, better yet, are taking action to making family meals happen!

The data on why family meals matter is overwhelming.

Family meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members. For example:

  • Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem and delayed sexual activity. 
  • Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect. 
  • With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
  • Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity.
  • Increased family meals are associated with greater intake of fruits and vegetables.

In 2020, a Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) study found:

 

Family meals improve fruit and vegetable consumption – studies showed a positive relationship between family meal frequency and fruit and vegetable intake when examined separately, but also when fruit and vegetable intake were combined.

 

Family meals improve family functioning – studies demonstrated a positive relationship between family meal frequency and measures of family functioning. Family functioning is defined as family connectedness, communication, expressiveness, and problem-solving.


    The Benefits of Family Meals is Real

    A significant study on the relationship between certain family characteristics and adolescent problem behaviors, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teens who have more frequent family dinners (more than three per week) are:


    3.5 TIMES

    less likely to have abused prescription drugs or to have used an

    illegal drug other than marijuana or prescription drugs


    3 TIMES

    less likely to have used marijuana


    2.5 TIMES

    less likely to have used tobacco


    1.5 TIMES

    less likely to have used alcohol


    Stay-strong-barometer

    Staying Strong with Family Meals” Barometer

    We may have always known, intuitively, that family meals are good for us, but The numerous research studies referenced on this website provide the scientific proof.

    When we were six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we discovered that Americans were using family meals to stay strong – physically and emotionally – during the global pandemic. Better yet, they planned to continue this positive practice when the world returns to a new normal.  

    The “Staying Strong with Family Meals” Barometer is a recurring consumer survey tracking family meal behaviors and habits that started in August 2020 and is ongoing. The latest data reveals that Americans are cooking more with their families and having more family meals.

    

    87%

    say they are cooking with their families the same amount or more than before the pandemic.

    

    86%

    report they are having the same amount or more in-person family meals.

    

    75%

    75% say they are having the same amount or more virtual family meals.

    This barometer shows how people are benefiting from family meals and why we should all continue this healthy habit. For instance, nine out of 10 Americans express positive sentiments about the family meals experience. They boast that family meals:

    • Are a good way to spend time with people.
    • Make me feel more connected.
    • Are an important part of my household’s regular routine.
    • Are a high point of my day.

    Beyond these positive vibes, Americans are experiencing tangible value. Seventy percent of those having in-person family meals or cooking family meals together feel more connected.

    Family Meals Research

    Family Meal Frequency, Diet, and Family Functioning: A Systematic Review With Meta-analyses
    Power of Family Meals 2017
    The Monday Campaigns Shares Advice from A Top Nutritionist in Promotion of Family Meals
    The Surprising Power of Family Meals
    The Family-Building Benefits of Frequent Family Dinners
    The Importance of Family Dinners VIII: A September 2012 CASA White Paper
    Two Out Of Five Americans Are Dining Out Less Often—With Bigger Benefits than Saving Money
    Fun family meal ideas
    Recipes your family will love
    Support from your favorite supermarket and products

    Get Social


    Show off your family meal with #FamilyMealsMovement! 


    CHECK IT OUT

    fork-spoon

    Family meals are at a critical intersection in our nation

    The will to return to the table exists, but families need a friendly, familiar voice to show them the way. That voice is food retail, and the way is the National Family Meals Movement.

    Join us in making a difference during National Family Meals Month™ this September.