"Dine in!" on December 3

Commit to “Dining In” with your family on December 3 for Family & Consumer Sciences Day.

Michigan State University Extension invites you to commit to “Dining In” on Family and Consumer Sciences Day on Sunday, December 3, 2017. “Dining In” began in 2014 to recognize American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences’(AAFCS) founder, whose birthday is December 3, Ellen Swallow Richards. When you commit to “Dining In” you will be a part of 200,000 families who will prepare and eat a meal together.

This is an opportunity to encourage your family and others you know to support family mealtime. Family mealtime has health benefits for mind and body. Research supports that the whole family benefits from sharing meals together. According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’s article, Family Dinners and Their Impact on Teen Substance Use- Insights from Family Engagement Expert Margie Skeer, can foster the parent-child relationship in thee ways.

  1. Increasing Communication. Dinners can create a comfort level for children that increases communication, which can help when it comes to discussing more sensitive or challenging topics, such as alcohol and drug use.
  2. Developing a Sense of Trust. Dinners can provide a space for family members to talk about their day, thereby indicating to children that parents are prioritizing them and their interests. This, in turn, conveys a sense of trust, which is essential when initiating and engaging in potentially difficult conversations.
  3. Identifying Changes in Your Child. Spending consistent and dedicated time together can allow parents to identify patterns in their children and, more importantly, if and when changes in those patterns occur, which could be an indication of problems.

Family meals encourage communication and relationships. However, it also helps to fight the national obesity epidemic, which is due, in part, to the lack of knowledge of choosing and preparing healthy foods. Family meals support families to have better nutrition, teach life skills through budgeting, food preparation and meal planning, and cultivates family traditions. Michigan State University’s Food and Health programming supports the principal message of Family and Consumer Science’s by encouraging “creating health and sustainable families.” This can be done by preparing simple, healthy meals and eating together.

Family dinners are one way to connect as a family. Even if it’s not possible to have dinner together every evening, make it a priority to spend time together for even a half hour. Family dinners may also need to be scheduled. Make the most of the time you set aside by turning off technology. Aid conversation with prepared topics like those from The Family Dinner Project  which provides age appropriate conversation starters.

If you don’t already enjoy regular family meals, commit to “Dining In” and make family mealtime a priority on December 3.

Follow the steps below to get your family involved:
  • Take a photo of your family preparing a healthy meal and post it to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram using #FCSday and #healthyfamselfie.
  • Change your Facebook profile photo to the I'm "Dining In" logo.
  • Ask your friends and family to "Dine In."

Pin your favorite family meal recipes to a "Dining In" Pinterest board.

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