The importance of Family Dinners | Family Meals | WHY YOU SHOULD EAT DINNER AS A FAMILY |

Today I want to talk about the importance of family dinners (family meals). I was at a talk the other day and a father came up to me and said “Do you want to know the most revolutionary thing about your talk today” I answered yes, yes I do.

He paused and then said it was when I said that families should eat together as much as they can. He said that his family of 3 teenagers NEVER eat together except on holidays. He said they put out like a Buffett-style dinner. Everyone comes through grabs their food and then disperses all over the house and he and his wife watch TV while eating. He was asking me why I think he has no relationship with his kids.


So here is the most common sense video… eat dinner together as much as you can. This simple idea of family dinners will help in so many ways in the life of your family.

Some benefits to family dinners can be seen in this study below.

Recent studies show that family mealtime contributes to a higher consumption of healthy food and protects against the development of inappropriate eating habits among children and adolescents stimulating a greater availability of fruit and vegetables (FV) intake and less consumption of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. There is also evidence of its impact on reducing obesity: studies with children who received intervention related to the promotion of healthy family mealtime along with responsible parents or guardians, presented a reduction in excess weight at the end of the follow-up; in addition to the associations of reduced activities and the time spent in front of the television. Another important role is family mealtime to protect against psychosocial disorders, common in certain stages at childhood and especially in adolescence: the association between the habit to have family mealtime and lower occurrence of eating disorders, alcohol and drug use, depressive symptoms and risk factors for suicide between adolescents is emphasized in different studies.

Despite these described benefits in international literature, a low prevalence of family mealtime in households with children is frequently documented. For example, American population data analysis show a prevalence of only 49% of one daily family mealtime. The current contemporary routine favors habits that contradict family mealtime with more and faster ready-made meals.

Does family mealtime have a protective effect on obesity and good eating habits in young people? A 2000-2016 reviewClick here for the study.

Update Aug 19th, 2021 to family dinners

I talk more about the importance of having family dinners in my book Parenting: Navigating Everything. Click here for more information. There are actually 6 chapters on all aspects of parenting from parenting styles, how to have better communication in your home, time, and discipline.

I also talked about family dinners in a video I did during covid. Check it out. Click here.

family dinners

About The Author

Brett Ullman

Brett Ullman travels North America speaking to teens, young adults, leaders, and parents on topics including parenting, mental health, sexuality, pornography, men, dating and media. Brett's seminars engage and challenge attendees to try and connect our ancient faith with our modern culture we live in. Participants are inspired to reflect on what we know, what we believe and how our faith ought to serve as the lens through which we view and engage tough conversations in our society today.

1 Comment

  1. Jen Adams

    Eating together with my four boys was a nonnegotiable for us. Unless you were eating at someone else’s house we ate dinner as a family. We laughed we talked and we heard about each other’s day. Now they’re growing up we still enjoyed having meals together. It makes me sad that people think that busy activities for the children after school that takes them away from the family unit is better for them. Those activities always end at some point as they age but by then there’s no habit of gathering as a family..

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