There’s a lot to be thankful for at regular family dinners. Something magical happens when you are talking over a meal – instead of making a specific point of meeting in order to talk. Your whole body relaxes. The food has a truth serum effect. Things come up and are dealt with that wouldn’t have come up anywhere else.

We don’t need scientists to tell us that family dinners are good for the soul. But researchers can show us how eating family meals helps us to stay healthy. Recently, scientists said that children whose families eat together often are more likely to eat healthier foods like fruits, veggies and vitamins. They’re also less likely to eat unhealthy foods. On top of this, eating at home usually costs less than getting takeout or eating at a restaurant. Triple win!

Eating a home-cooked meal while connecting with your family is a lifestyle many desire. When parents and kids have busy schedules, it’s not always easy to meet for dinner as a family. But it’s important to do it as much as possible. It’s not easy to change a lifestyle, but one family is pushing itself to find health and happiness at the dinner table.

The Albert Family

Dinner is not well organized at home for the Albert family. They eat in front of the television, and the food is not prepared ahead of time. Scott, the father, decided he wanted more connection with his children. He wanted them to get to know each other, and not view dinner as a time to catch up with television.

When we stopped having meals together, we stopped sharing stories. I want to be a part of my children’s worlds.

Healthier Food, More Conversation, Fostering Connection

Scott has three goals: 1) to have more pre-planned dinners consisting of healthy food (not just something that “comes out of a box”) 2) to have more conversation at the dinner table 3) to have more connection with his kids.

Make dinner history by creating memories and rituals your family will carry and savor forever

Success - Dinner As A Team Effort

Scott has put together weekly dinners for the last three months. "I try to make these dinners “fun,” so that the kids would want to come back to the table (rather than just wanting to be watching television)."

He chooses foods that they like and can help prepare (e.g. pasta and pizza). Scott believes that his kids have learned to enjoy dinnertime because of these activities. They like thinking about the ingredients that would top a pizza, or replicating the sauce for pasta based on the movie Ratatouille.

Even though the conversation is “silly” during these meals, Scott values the time with his children and believes that this is the first step in their progress.

Looking Ahead - Keeping The Conversation Going

Scott hopes to continue the habits and rituals that they began to practice as a family. “We think more consciously about dinner as a family, to the point where the boys even suggest it on their on now. With that, everything will fall in line — conversation will happen more, because the activities inspire conversation, and this will make us more involved in our kids’ lives.”