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10 Benefits To Eating Family Dinner


Some of you who follow our daily dinner photos on Facebook may erroneously believe that we are all actually eating that meal, at the same time.  Here is what actually happens:

  • I snack and nibble and taste so much during meal prep, that I am full before dinner is even finished!
  • TJ is always outside at the pond behind our house till the sun goes down, and I hate to call him in, because I like that he’s outside.
  • Erica complains about dinner so much, I prefer to dish it up for her and then hide, rather than listen to her complain about what she doesn’t like.
  • Wade walks in after work and says, “I’m not hungry- we had Brat’s at work today.”

However, family dinners TOGETHER are important!  So, I will continue to set that goal for my family.

I believe it’s so important, that I’ve teamed up with The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia*) in promoting Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM

Over the next two months, I’ll be sharing ideas and ways you can easily share dinnertime with your family.  Then, on Monday, September 26th, 2011, we can all celebrate Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM.   by eating with our families.

So, I thought it would be appropriate to first list 10 of the many reasons eating dinner together is beneficial.


Benefits of Eating Together for Family Dinner

    1. Families who eat together develop strong parent child bonds.  Children are likely to talk and share things with their parents during dinner. (Source)
    2. Teens who regularly have meals together are less likely to get into fights or be promiscuous.
    3. Teens who regularly eat dinner as a family are less likely to take drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco. (Source)
    4. Children with families that eat together do better academically. (Source)
    5. Families that eat together generally eat more nutritiously, and children are less likely to be overweight.
    6. Children that are involved by setting the table, and clearing the dishes learn important skills.
    7. Eating dinner together teaches kids manners.  Saying please and thank you, sitting still, chewing with their mouths closed, taking a small enough bite of their food that it doesn’t end up smeared all over their face (still a problem for my 12 year old) : )
    8. Kids associate having family meals together as having a more stable home environment.
    9. Having family meals together can save money
    10. They grow up so fast, it’s time to make memories


So, get ready for September 26th! Set the goal today to eat more meals together! It doesn’t have to be dinner. Choose breakfast or lunch. The important thing is to be together during a meal.

Tired of thinking of dinner ideas? Check our Photos of our daily dinners, our free meal plans, or our Dinner recipes!


The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is neither affiliated with, nor sponsored by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (also known as “CASA Columbia” ) or any of its member organizations, or any other organizations with the name of “CASA”.

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Thanks for sharing with us what your dinners can really look like! My daughter sounds like yours. It can be so frustrating to keep at it. Your blog is so postitive that it helps – Thanks!

Eating dinner together each night is one of the few things our family does well on a regular basis. There’s enough we have to work on, that’s its nice to know this can be considered a success. 🙂 Although it means sometimes eating as late as 7 or 7:30, ’cause that’s when the hubby gets home from work.

A question though: do you and Wade eat from the kids plate too, or do you simply organize a larger plate in the way your kids’ plates are organized? (Trying to figure out portion sizes.)

Amy, I thought you would like this link: http://www.nj.com/parenting/carmen_juri/index.ssf/2011/01/family_dinners_help_nourish_re.html

This is my family…we were interviewed for this article because we do eat dinner together most every night! I LOVE this special family time. And over the years it has evolved…when the kids were very little, they ate fast and then put on “after dinner shows” using the carpet as a stage. Then we when through a “picker” stage where each kid got a turn to pick the order of who told about their day first. It sure is fun. (Except when one, two or three kids are fighting, then it is awfully quiet or terribly loud, depending who is fighting with whom!) It also gives us a chance to be thankful, as a family, for the food we have, and pray for those less fortunate. Thanks for all the post, Amy!

I must say I can totally relate to the wonderful memories of sitting down for a meal with my family and just chit chatting. It is indeed an important bonding time! I think having meals together allow the parents to find out what the children have been up to and it is easier to detect problems and nip it in the bud!

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It sure was nice when you said that eating together with your children can allow you to bond with them because they will likely share things with you. My husband and I wanted our kids to don’t hesitate to share all the important details of their lives because we wanted to feel that we’re always around to support them. Since we want to spend a quality time with them while eating their favorite pizza, we’ll make sure to find a pizzeria. Thanks!

I like that you said that you should consider eating together with your family so you can make memories since your children grow up so fast. This is something that I will make sure to remember because 2 of children graduated from college. I can’t believe how time flies, and we lack bonding times. I’ll make sure to find a restaurant that offers an happy hour so we can bond in the best way possible.

It’s great that you mentioned that one of the benefits of eating together as a family is kids would feel like they have a stable home environment and provide your family bonding time. My husband is a soldier, and he’ll be coming home next month. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take the family out to eat at a restaurant once he gets home so we could eat together. Thanks.

I like what you said about family dinners helping to create a stronger parent-child bond. My husband and I want to find a way to connect better with our two kids and spend more time with them. Our kids love pizza, so we will have to implement a weekly family pizza dinner where we can strengthen our bond.

You got my attention when you said that families that eat together develop strong parent-child bonds. As you dinner children are encouraged to share things with t8heir parents during dinner. This gives me the idea to look for a restaurant that we can visit every Saturday to keep our bond and connection stronger as a family. Also, I want my son to feel that I enjoy his presence and his stories so well. Thanks for sharing this.

I loved that you said that eating together with your family could develop strong parent-child bonds, and they will likely share more things with their parents.

It’s great that you mentioned that family dinners TOGETHER are important! So, I will continue to set that goal for my family.

Oh my God, you just made me realize that having family dinner is such a great cost-effective choice! One of my neighbors has been figuring out how he can provide meal for his kids albeit under a tight budget currently. I’ll forward this article to him so he’ll make the right prep later.