It’s National Family Meals Month! How many meals do you eat at home with your family on any given week? When I was a kid, pretty much every dinner was spent with my entire family. My mom always made sure we had a variety of fresh foods to eat including lean meats, veggies, pasta and often fresh strawberries (with vanilla ice cream, of course) for dessert.
However, these images of classic Americana are now increasingly rare. Between parents working long hours, kids having baseball or soccer practices and games, plus dance and music classes, there’s rarely enough time for a family to sit together and share a relaxed dinner. Instead, we grab something at a quick-serve restaurant or nuke something in the microwave and dash out the door.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and many of its members are celebrating September as National Family Meals Month which they term as a nationwide event designed to underscore the benefits of family meals and the challenge for us all to pledge to share one more meal at home per week with our families.
The Value of a Fresh Home Cooked Meal
Of course, FMI has a vested interest in driving traffic to their members’ stores but there’s no doubt an altruistic motive here as well. There are both physical and psychological benefits to be had related to a home Cooked meal shared with family (and friends!). FMI claims “Family meals eaten at home have been proven to benefit the health and wellness of children and adolescents, to fight obesity, substance abuse and to make families stronger—creating a positive impact on our communities and our nation as a whole.” According to FMI’s website:
- Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem.
- Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect.
- With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
Looking at simply the nutritional values, it’s hard to argue in favor of a burger and fries over some home prepared lean meats, fresh broccoli and a fresh leafy green salad.
Zest Labs is proud to support National Family Meals Month. It’s part of our corporate culture to promote the value of fresh produce and proteins and making them available as broadly as possible. So, in September, FMI suggests spotlighting the long-term benefits of family meals, and start conversations that encourage and inspire people to enjoy wholesome home cooked meals together. You can even join in — as a company or an individual — and commit to one more meal at home per week throughout September (and beyond!) for #FamilyMealsMonth.