Gov. Jay Inslee and Washingtonstate’s independent grocers , convenience stores, and their suppliers are encouraging families to eat more meals together in September. A new proclamation issued by the governor has declared September “Family Meals Month” in Washington state.
With K-12 students headed back to school this month and more extra-curricular activities resuming, family meals often get bumped due to scheduling commitments. With just 30 percent of American families sharing dinner every night, many families miss out on opportunities to establish closer relationships with immediate and extended family members.
“Family meals remain one of the best ways to stay connected with your family, eat healthy and help children succeed in school,” said Tammie Hetrick, president and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association. “Studies repeatedly show that family meals are associated with better nutrition and stronger family dynamics. And family meals don’t have to be boring – a theme night based on a favorite book or letting teens pick music to enjoy during the meal are great ways to involve the whole family and create discussion topics,” said Hetrick.
“Washingtonians are still cooking more and having more family meals due to the pandemic. That means more time connecting about the day’s events, school, sports, current events – even homework, but most importantly, it’s a time for families to come together and re-connect,” added Hetrick. “Our members are excited to be a part of this important initiative and to be able to provide families with fresh food to enjoy at meal time.”
According to the FMI Foundation, 87 percent of Americans said they are cooking with their families the same amount or more than before the pandemic, and of those having in-person family meals, 70 percent say they feel more connected as a family.
“The meaning of ‘family’ may have changed these days,” said Hetrick, “but family meals still make an impact on family bonds, performance in school and better nutrition.”