Barilla, the family run pasta and sauces company, recently conducted a survey with findings that once again, support the importance of family dinners.
- 93 percent of Americans acknowledge dinner time as the best way to connect as a family
- Americans who eat with others more frequently are more satisfied with every aspect of their own lives, including their relationships, their physical and mental health and their level of achievement in life.
- Sharing meals ranks No. 1 above all other activities (including family vacations, playing together and attending religious services) in helping Americans connect with their families and their kids.
- Nearly six in 10 families agree that they don’t have as many opportunities to connect with their family or friends as they’d like.
- Americans who eat with others frequently report lower levels of overweight children.
The study is part of Barilla’s “Share the Table” campaign in which they are working with country music star Martina McBride and infamous chef Mario Batali – two people who understand the importance of coming together for mealtime.
When it comes to creating the best family dinner experience, McBride, the mother of three, has three tips that include:
- Once in a while, make everyday dinners seem fancier with candles, a linen tablecloth and your fine china. This will add an element of fun and something to get excited about.
- Carry on your favorite dinnertime traditions from your childhood and tell your children about family meals from when you were a kid.
- Plan ahead so you can fit dinners into busy schedules. Put the dates and times on your calendar and don’t budge.
In addition to Martina’s tips – I recommend meal planning. It’s one thing to plan a night for family dinner, but if you don’t know what’s cooking and you haven’t made a grocery store list, it often doesn’t happen – at least that’s how it is in my house. Meal planning ensures that family dinners take place…frequently. In addition, meal planning helps cut costs too – no more money wasted on groceries that you don’t need or end up going to waste in your fridge.
As a parent, what are your tips for creating a great family dining experience?