By: Anna Kanaley, Assistant, Food & Product Safety, Health & Well-Being, FMI Foundation

I'm always in search of a new recipe to add to my repertoire. My favorite source of inspiration for inspired recipes is watching other people cook. Whether it's watching the movies "Hundred Foot Journey" or "Chef" for the thousandth time or scrolling through Instagram videos of people making homemade bread or gourmet French cuisine, there is something so satisfying about watching people mince and sauté garlic and onions that leaves me ready to experiment in the kitchen.

In fact, every time I go home to visit my family, they anticipate new recipes that expand their palates. While the expectations add a bit of pressure, I love the challenge. Not only because it allows me to express my creativity through cooking, but because since my sisters and I left for college, my family dinners typically consist of us all sitting on the couch watching a show together.

When I am in charge of cooking dinner, I get to make the rules: this means everyone sits at the table together, no phones, just each other for entertainment. While my younger sisters complain and groan at first, we end up spending hours at the table laughing and talking, bonding in a way eating around a screen just does not allow. If cooking a nice meal for my parents and sisters is the cost for hours of laughter, I am willing to pay the price. 

This September is National Family Meals Month. Our supporting research shows that eating together as a family boosts mental and physical health, among other tremendous benefits.  

I encourage all of you to do whatever it takes to bring your family together to share a meal. If you are like me and you need some inspiration, try new food-related movies or scrolling through social media. I recommend doing whatever it takes to get the creative juices flowing – from wandering farmers markets and choosing what to cook based on what is in season, to strolling through grocery aisles. It will be worth the extra time and effort.