The proven health and societal benefits of family meals have inspired a month-long event aimed at helping families get back to the table. Gov. Tim Walz has proclaimed September as Family Meals Month. Grocers all across Minnesota are encouraging families to share one more meal together per week at home, and highlighting simple, healthy meal resources to make it easier for them to raise their mitt to commit to making these meals happen.
“With each additional family meal shared in a 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 behaviors,” reads the proclamation issued by Gov. Walz.
Numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family, yet, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night. In addition, recent research proves that people who frequently cook at home eat fewer and healthier calories. Research from the 2016 Family Meals Month shows that 85 percent of shoppers said they took action after seeing the campaign. Further, 95 percent of those who saw the campaign on social media and/or email said that their consumption and/or shopping behavior changed.
“September is the perfect month to showcase the proven health and social benefits of family meals, and start a conversation that encourages and inspires people to return to the table,” says Jamie Pfuhl, president of the Minnesota Grocers Association. “Juggling the demands of modern life—school, sports, jobs, and long commutes— can sabotage the best-laid plans for home-cooked meals. We want to help Minnesotans make wholesome meals together, at home, a modern family tradition.”
“Interest in creating more opportunities for families to eat meals together is at a critical point in our society,” says Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, creator of Family Meals Month. “The will to return to the table exists, but families need a friendly, familiar voice to encourage, guide, and help them. That voice comes from organizations they know and trust. Join us as we work collaboratively with retailers, food manufacturers, and health organizations from across the country to bring families back to the table to share one more meal at home per week.”