As a Registered Dietitian, I believe that one of the best health promotion messages is to simply encourage family meals. Consumers tell us that they would like to eat healthier, but also say that nutrition advice is confusing. As a result, the nutrition community is always looking for ways to simplify the messages and to encourage positive eating behaviors.
Delivering messages to inspire family meals can improve health. Looking at research from numerous sources we know that:
Family meals results in healthier eating
- Children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to have healthier dietary and eating patterns.
- People who eat the most home-cooked meals eat healthier and consumer about 130 fewer calories daily, compared to people who cook less or not at all.
- Children who share meals with their families three or more times each week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders.
- Adolescents who participate in two family meals each week are less likely to be overweight or obese in adulthood.
For these reasons and more, I am convinced that the promotion of family meals results in the delivery of the most powerful, positive and actionable nutrition and health promotion advice for consumers.
The food retail community comes together each September to celebrate National Family Meals Month™ and also competes to provide the best solutions to family meals for their customers and, clearly, the potential health benefits are vast.There is still time to take part this year in helping families share more meals together and our website has the toolkits, resources and ideas to get you started. Be sure to check out our Best Practice Guide to see what retailers and suppliers have done in the past and our Retailer and Manufacturer Toolkits. Join the discussion on social media with #FamilyMealsMonth, learn more about National Family Meals Month and join the movement at www.FMIFamilyMeals.com.