Skill 1: Family Meals Resources
U.S. families are eating dinner together much less often. Only 51% of families eat dinner together daily. Many only do so a few times a week. (Pew Research, 2010).
- U.S. families are having shorter and shorter mealtimes.
- Families are more and more distracted by televisions and always-on electronic devices.
By growing the skill of meaningful meals, we can strengthen ourselves both physically and spiritually for the journey ahead.
Find a simple guide for how to have supper here. And remember, it doesn't have to be supper! It could be breakfast, Sunday brunch, whatever causes the least stress and fits the best into your family routine.
Photo by the National Catholic Institute and shared on Unsplash.
What does the science say?
Family meals can lead to positive behaviors such as:
- better vocabulary (source)
- higher achievement scores (source)
- more likely to receive A's in coursework (source)
- healthy eating in their later young adult years (source)
- kids who had been victims of cyberbullying bounced back more readily (source)
- increase in positive mood in adolescents (source)
- more positive view of the future in adolescents (source)
Family meals can also lead to a decrease in negative outcomes, such as:
- decrease in obesity in later young adult years (source)
- reduction in some medical disorders, such as asthma (source)
- decrease in smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, violence, school problems, eating disorders and sexual activity in teens (source)
- lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in teens (source)
Family Meals as Rituals
Rituals provide stability in uncertain times, and are particularly resilient during the coronavirus pandemic. Family meals can be an excellent ritual during this time.
Learn more here.
Resources for Dinner Conversations
How to talk about Loss
How to nurture resilience
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
Meals as Sacred
Jesus ate with sinners and outcasts. Shared meals can be places of radical hospitality. Jesus also performed miracles in the context of meals and celebrations: think the Last Supper and the Wedding Feast at Cana, where he changed the water to wine. We are called to celebrate the Last Supper every time we are at Mass, where we receive food for the journey of our spiritual life in the form of the Echarist, Jesus present to us as gift.
Read more here about how God uses shared meals in the Bible to do amazing things, and how we can cultivate this sacred time in our own homes.