Family Meals


By Linda Tobias


Family meals are important. Whether it’s just you and your child, or your family has several generations living together, sitting down together to eat can result in healthier eating habits, improved self-esteem, and better social skills. Studies suggest that family meals are a big factor in raising healthy, happy kids. (source)


But what is a family meal? If your first thought is that family meals must be lengthy and involve multiple courses of hearty and healthy food made from scratch, then you’re likely to give up on the whole idea. (I know I would!) But, fear not, family meals can be very simple to pull off!


  • 20 minutes is all you need! We live in a busy world where few of us have an hour to sit down for dinner each night, and that’s okay. Sit down, eat and then get on with what you need to do.
  • Meals don’t need to be a burden. Make sandwiches, reheat leftovers, grab take-out on the way home – as long as you’re all together when you’re eating, it counts as a family meal.
  • Busy day? Eat out. A meal eaten together at a fast food joint is still a family meal.


Here are some tips that will have you putting together family meals like a pro:


  • Talk to each other! This is the time to connect as a family. Share highlights from your day, make plans for the weekend, tell stories from when you were a kid, ask questions. Involve everyone in the conversation.
  • Make the meal fun. Let kids eat at their own pace. Let everyone pick which of the served foods to eat and how much.
  • Ban all electronics from the area you’re eating in. No tablets, video games or smart phones (that means you too!). Turn the TV off.
  • Plan your meals for the week. Involve everyone in the family so that each person gets at least one of their favourite meals.
  • Involve kids in putting the meal together. Take them grocery shopping. Get them to help in the kitchen, with setting the table, and by cleaning up after the meal.


Read more about Family Meals:

Ellyn Satter Institute

Better Together BC