By: Tom Cosgrove, Manager, Program and Development, FMI Foundation
Few good habits lead to better health than families preparing and eating meals together at home.
“Yes,” said Michelle Cordial, vice president of healthy living for the American Heart Association. “that’s what we’ve noticed. People who prepare their own meals and eat them at home are healthier. Period. End of story.”
That’s why Cordial and the Heart Association were so happy to jump on board with National Family Meals Month. Encouraging families to eat one more meal together each week — preferably at home — serves the goals of the association’s Healthy For Good campaign.
Healthy For Good is designed to communicate to people in language they understand the science-based information that will encourage them to:
- Eat smart
- Move more
- Add color (to their diets, that is), and
- Be well.
The seed for the campaign was planted in Cordial’s brain when she went to work for the American Heart Association two years ago and saw the 700 pages of research it then had available on how to lead a longer, healthier life.
“My head was spinning,” she said.
Thus began her initiative to turn all that solid, science-based information into language that people can relate to.
Cordial knew that 75 percent of Americans believe living a healthy lifestyle is important, but 60 percent of them are confused about what is healthy.
“We’re trying to give very easy-to-understand messages about what science says will help you lead a longer, healthier life,” she said.
Two of those four tenets mentioned above, “eat smart” and “add color,” is where food retailers come in. The very wide and deep collection of recipes and cooking videos available at healthyforgood.heart.org is an arsenal that grocery stores can use to help their customers make the right choices.
Cordial encourages food retailers to consult healthyforgood.heart.org frequently.
“One thing that prevents people from being healthy is not knowing what is healthy,” she said. “The second thing is skills. We want to help people develop the skills to be healthy. That’s what our cooking videos and our simple, easy recipes are for.”
To learn more about National Family Meals Month and all of the partners promoting this campaign, visit www.fmifamilymeals.com, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #FamilyMealsMonth on social media!