David Fikes, Executive Director, FMI Foundation

Family MealsThis past weekend my wife and I took our rising sixth grader to the local mall on a pre-school clothes shopping spree.  We were preparing to leave my daughter’s favorite clothes venue when store staff suddenly started ushering everyone into the store’s back storage rooms because we were, as they described it, “in lockdown.”  In very cramped quarters with minimal information available, my family and I stood among stacks of leggings for about twenty minutes.  A few weeks prior, this mall had been the scene of a gunfire exchange between members of rival gangs, so you can imagine, anxiety in the crowded room was palpable, heightened by the admonition to not speak.  As I stood there, I thought, this is not the world I grew up in.  I don’t ever remember being afraid to go clothes shopping. 

The lockdown ended up being unnecessary as the police-summoning sound some had mistaken as gunfire was determined to be nothing but the crash of a fallen light fixture in an adjacent store. The news was a bit comforting, almost funny, and oddly no one complained about our sequestering being an overreaction.  I think everyone was in a better-safe-than-sorry mindset, and it says something about the mentally and emotionally vulnerable times we are living through that my initial thought was gratitude we weren’t in real danger, this time, followed by the grim reality check that we could have been. These truly are days filled with uncertainty and we all need every haven we can find to bolster our coping skills.

It is for these and numerous other reasons that the FMI Foundation is partnering with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) this year to bolster the mental health advantages of family meals. This September our Family Meals Month is spotlighting the numerous benefits that sharing a meal with your loved ones can bring to your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Nutritional psychiatry is a rapidly growing field exploring the relationship between diet and mental health.  Research shows that family meals, however you define family, are associated with better overall individual nutritional intake, better weight management, and stronger social interactions.  This means our mental and physical health is impacted not only by the food we eat, but also the company with whom we share these meals.

Join us August 18, 2022, at 2:00 PM EST for a digital seminar with Dr. Drew Ramsey covering the nutritional components to boosting mental health. Under Dr. Ramsey’s guidance we will learn the key concepts that optimize mental and physical health including: the nutrients associated with lowering depression and anxiety and where to find them; the role of inflammation; the microbiome; and the effects of increasing family meals.

Register here to learn more about how family meals benefit our mental health.

You can also access our easy-to-share infographics to use in your  company’s family meals promotion and help us showcase the physical and mental health benefits of family meals.

Family meals may not be the cure-all to ease the anxiety pervading our society, but I sure find them to be a healthy means of lowering my blood pressure each day.