GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dig in! Dec. 3 marks the second annual day for “Dining In” for Healthy Families across the United States, and UF/IFAS Extension faculty are encouraging everyone to enjoy a nutritious meal with those close to them, which also enhances communication.
Eating together at home as a family shows many benefits, as documented in scientific research. The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) has chosen to focus of families dining-in— no matter the size of a family.
The Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences is planning a lunch for Dec. 3 in its conference room on campus, and faculty and staff encourage all campus units, county Extension offices and UF/IFAS research and education centers to do the same, as well as dining with their families that evening, said Linda Bobroff, a UF/IFAS nutrition and health professor.
“Not only are family meals important for spending quality time together and building relationships, research shows that eating meals together contributes to healthier dietary patterns,” Bobroff said. “When they frequently share family meals, people tend to eat more foods that often are limited in the American diet, like fruits and vegetables. They also get more of the nutrients that are not provided in adequate amounts in many people’s diets. These include fiber, calcium and iron, and vitamins C, E, B6, B12 and folate, all of which are critical for good health.”
Some families find eating together difficult because of scheduling conflicts, including school, work and extracurricular activities, said Karla Shelnutt, an associate professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Shelnutt offers a few suggestions for increasing the frequency of family meals:
- Make them a priority.
- Increase meals by one extra meal each week.
- As a family, plan a menu for the week.
- Let children get involved in preparing the meal.
- Turn off the TV during meals.
Last year, more than 100,000 people nationwide committed to preparing and eating a healthy meal together on Dec. 3. Extension faculty nationwide want to double the 2014 results and receive 200,000 commitments to “Dining In.”
To follow UF/IFAS activities on during Dine-In Day on twitter, go to #FCSdayFL.
You can express your personal commitment and/or work with groups in your area to commit to dining in, by going to the AAFCS website: http://www.aafcs.org/FCSday/. There, you’ll find promotional materials and resources related to family mealtime. You can track progress by checking to see the thermometer and following on social media. Click on https://www.facebook.com/AAFCSheadquarters/?ref=ts.
By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Linda Bobroff, 352-273-3521, email@example.com