With busy schedules and jobs whose hours blend into nights and weekends, it seems nearly impossible to get the whole family together for a sit-down meal. But scheduling time for Sunday night dinner is more than just a chance to eat together — it’s valuable time to bond as a family and improve everyone’s overall well-being.
According to Oxford University research, eating together can make people happier and more satisfied with their lives. Using data from a national survey conducted by The Big Lunch, researchers concluded that eating together helps people form community bonds, which translates to a better outlook on life.
“As a dietitian, I’ve always known how important family meals are,” Frances Largeman-Roth, RDNnutritionist and author of “The smoothie plan” told TODAY Food. “And as a mother of three school-age children with different schedules, I now see how family meals can be put aside. But they are so important to the well-being of your child and your family.”
Largeman-Roth said research showed that family meals aren’t just great to eat, they provide real benefits for children, including better school performance and self-esteem, reduced drug abuse and the risk of teenage pregnancy, a lower risk of depression and a lower likelihood of developing eating disorders. There are benefits for adults too, including more nutritious meals, less emphasis on dieting, improved self-esteem, improved marital satisfaction and lower risk of depression.
“Family dinners should be fun and easy, not stressful,” Largeman-Roth said. “Ask each family member to put a recipe or meal on a shared list – it could be a list on the fridge or a shared Google doc – then create a monthly calendar with each person’s choice. person.”
It’s great if you can get the family together to cook together, but if that’s not possible, at least get the kids involved in cleaning and setting the table, putting flowers or bringing condiments to the table.
While it’s sometimes unavoidable to eat on the go, if you can make time for Sunday dinner (or whatever meal suits your family), you’ll experience first-hand the bonding that takes place when your crew eat together.
Ready to try your own Sunday dinner? We have a full menu to inspire you!
Pork Tenderloin is an easy and versatile recipe that makes it a meal everyone will enjoy – and you can even have some family game time while he’s resting! Toss leftovers into a salad for work or school the next day. It truly is a dinner party that keeps on giving.
Casey Barber / TODAY
This recipe looks fancy but is very easy to make. Toss them in the slow cooker, then enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness come dinnertime. No time for potatoes au gratin? Roast them instead.
Everyone knows that bacon is the best way to get kids (and adults!) greens to eat. This recipe comes together quickly and is best served warm.
Casey Barber / TODAY
Magical Sunday dinners deserve a magic cake! This recipe is actually quite easy and consists of three layers: a rich and luxurious custard crust, a creamy center, and a light and delicate angel food cake filling. Yum!
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Courtesy of Adam Friedlander
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