Join the Movement!


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. It 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!


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


    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 family meals bring joy and connectedness to tables across America.



    Agree that sharing family meals is IMPORTANT. 



    Family meals are a great time to have and teach respectful interactions.



    Feel the benefits of family meals outweigh the costs.

    Family Meals Research

    More than 35 years of research and thousands of studies from around the globe document that family meals (no matter how you define “family”) are advantageous for both physical and mental health.  Beyond these benefits, it has been shown time and again that family meals improve family functioning – family connectedness, communication, expressiveness, and problem-solving.

    We may have always known, intuitively, that family meals are good for us, but the numerous research studies from the past ten years alone (cited below) provide scientific proof. See for yourself.

    Remarkable Mental Health Benefits for All Involved

    Eating more family meals is associated with better overall mental health. Regular family meals are also associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, tobacco use, early teenage pregnancy, and higher rates of resilience and higher self-esteem, all of which impact mental health. Mental health experts say the magic of sit-down mealtime happens when families gather together to talk, laugh, share their day-to-day struggles, and support each other through life's ups and downs. These moments of connection nurture a sense of belonging, leading to greater self-esteem and self-confidence.
    Family Meal - A Great Place to Create Positive Change
    Family Meals Benefit Adults, Too

    Emotional Survival Skills

    Eating more meals together as a family is associated with improved overall adolescent health: reduced adolescent drug use, delayed sexual activity, reduced symptoms of depression, violence and suicide, and higher grades among youth. Overall, family meals lead to higher self-esteem and a greater sense of resilience—or ability to bounce back from hardships—in children. At the family level, these shared meals create a sense of togetherness and generally improve family relationships.
    Family Meals Have Long-Term Influences on Children's Biopsychosocial Well-Being
    Adolescents Feel Greater Happiness When They Share a Family Meal
    Family Meals are Positively Related to Positive Dimensions of Mental Health in Adolescents
    Frequent Family Meals May Have a Protective Effect on the Mental Health of Adolescents
    Family Meals May Build Stronger Families and Young People
    Frequent Family Meals Have Positive Effects on Psychosocial Outcomes in Children and Adolescents
    Adolescents Who Frequently Eat Meals with Their Family Are Less Likely to Engage in Risk Behaviors
    Regular Family Meals May Be Related to More Positive Body Image in Youth
    Family Meals May Help Protect Adolescents from the Harmful Consequences of Cyberbullying

    Maximizing Nutrition and Health

    People who eat more meals together have healthier eating habits and better diets in general. These healthier habits include eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as having breakfast more often. Involving children in food preparation for family meals can increase dietary quality and improve eating patterns among children.
    Family Meals are an Ideal Setting for Efforts to Improve Children's Nutritional Health
    Shared Meals May Lead to a Higher Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Preschoolers
    There Is a Significant Relationship Between Frequent Family Meals and Better Nutritional Health
    Frequent Family Meals and Healthy Dietary Patterns Go Together
    Family Meals Show Significant Associations with Nutritional Health in Children
    Frequent Family Meals are Associated with Better Diet Quality Through Childhood and Adolescence
    Family Meals Improve Dietary Intake Among Youths
    Eating in the Home-Family Setting is Associated with Better Diet Quality for Children
    A Positive Relation Between Family Meal Frequency and Dietary Outcomes in Children

    Healthy Weight and Healthier Diet

    Studies show that children who share three or more family meals per week are more likely to have a healthy weight and a healthier diet than those who share fewer than three family meals.
    Positive Experiences at Family Meals Lead to Reduced Risk of Childhood Overweight and Obesity
    Family Meals During Adolescence Significantly Associated with Reduced Risk of Overweight or Obesity
    Frequency of Family Meals Presents an Inverse Association with Childhood Overweight or Obesity
    Family Meal is a Valuable Moment to Promote Healthy Eating in Toddlers and Infants
    Family Meals Present Children with Disabilities Positive Social and Family Health Outcomes
    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! 



    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.