When was the last time you and your family sat down and ate dinner together? Over the years, a “family meal” has changed definition. With busy schedules and more mothers working, sometimes it is hard to find the time to actually have a meal together. However, making time for family meals is beneficial to the entire family. The University of Florida’s Family & Consumer Sciences would like to invite you and your family or group/class to join them in celebrating “Dine-In Day” on December 3rd.
What is Dine-In Day?
Dine-In Day is celebrated every year on December 3rd. It is a time that you can devote to having breakfast, lunch or dinner with your family. There are four simple steps in participating:
- Complete the simple sign-up form. Commit to “Dining In” for your family or on behalf of a class or other community group. Individuals who complete the form and provide contact info will be eligible for prize drawings!
- Check out their interactive map and see who else is “Dining In” around the country and across the world!
- Promote Family & Consumer Sciences Day and “Dining In” to your friends, families, and colleagues.
- Prepare and eat a healthy meal with your family on December 3rd and share a photo on your social media sites! With our financial focus in 2017, we also encourage you to share tips on how to save resources by “dining in” and any specific meals you make that are both healthy, delicious, and budget friendly.
Remember to use hashtags #FCSday and #healthyfamselfie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Why Are Family Meals Important?
When parents value family dinner, children are likely to view family dinners as important. Family meals can provide important examples to show children what foods are good to eat and how much of the good foods they should eat. Eating family meals together benefits children in many ways.
- Educational Benefits- Increased focus on homework. Improved school performance. Greater development of language skills. Increased and more sophisticated level of vocabulary.
- Health Benefits- Improved development of healthy eating patterns. Higher intake of several essential nutrients. Decreased likelihood of having eating disorders. Decreased likelihood of being overweight. Less likely to develop depression symptoms.
- Social and Behavioral Benefits- Less likely to be involved with bad habits and abuse. Increased sense of family connectedness and communication. Increased likelihood of resisting peer pressure. More likely to experience positive identity assets.
- Overall Benefits for the Family- Regular and consistent family time. Reduction of anxiety and depression in children. Increased feeling of togetherness. Increased emotional and social bonding. Shared nutrition, relaxing, talking, and laughing as a family unit.
Family Bonding Tips
- Show interest in your family members by asking about their day.
- Compliment each other and provide positive feedback, encouragement, and support when necessary.
- Turn off (or silence) television, cell phones, laptops, radios, music players, and other electronic devices.
- Do not interrupt or talk over one another.
- Plan meals together.
Eating family meals together typically results in positive benefits for family members. Accessing programs designed to focus on mealtime and family and youth development can be critical to introducing families to the benefits of family meals.
If you would like to know more about “Dine-In” Day, healthy family meals, or nutrition, contact your local Extension Office FCS Agent.
Jana Hart- Extension Agent- FCS/4-H