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The leisurely family meal, a staple for countless generations of Americans, has been taken off the table by the cold realities of 21st Century lifestyles. Parents juggle long work days, daily commutes, their children’s after-school activities, and endless demands of running a household. There just isn’t time.

But, families that eat meals together reap long-term benefits that feed the body, mind, and spirit.

And that’s why Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is launching a national campaign – FCCLA @ the Table – by asking its 200,000 members to take a pledge to plan and prepare healthy meals for their families.

We have a big goal: 70,000 meals before the 2015 National Leadership Conference, where states with the greatest percentage of meals prepared and shared will be recognized. 

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Stronger Families One Meal At a Time

Research about families sharing meals together is compelling:

  • Regular family meals promote healthy eating habits and create a bond between parents and their children.
  • Eating dinner together improves academic performance in school: 52% of children are mostly “A/B” students when their families eat dinner together up to twice a week.

FCCLA @ the Table challenges members to take a pledge to plan and prepare a meal for their families. It can be a one-time commitment or more.

The culinary stakes needn’t be high. You can prepare a simple dinner, like soup and sandwiches. Those comfortable in the kitchen can plan more elaborate meals.

The events can be spiced up with special themes: breakfast for dinner, international night, one-pot dinners, or a winter picnic in the living room. The choices are endless. 

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What's Next?

  1. Click here and pledge to prepare a meal for your family
  2. Prepare your meal
  3. Take a picture and post it on Instagram and tag #FCCLAatTheTable!

It's that simple.

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Resources:

 

  • FCCLA @ the Table brochure
  • Family Meal Student Evaluation
  • Family Meal Family Member Feedback form
  • Family Meal Plan Guidelines
  • Family Meal Planning Process
  • Family Meal Rubric
  • Family Meal Lesson Plan
  • Here’s some sweet inspiration for great dinner conversations that will create great memories.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/great-dinner-conversations-with-your-kids/2014/07/29/32ac6460-0c33-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html

  • Conversation is the secret sauce of an enjoyable family dinner. Here are some questions to kick start the evening, tighten your bonds and create some memorable moments.
  • You can eat healthy and stay within your food budget. Get started with these timely and time-saving tips. Create a grocery game plan, discover new recipes your family will enjoy, and learn about budget-conscious two-week menus right here.

  • Looking for inspiration? Check out the “Recipe Finder” from the United States Department of Agriculture, a database of recipes submitted by nutrition and health professionals and organizations. You also can build your own cookbook by adding recipes selected from the Recipe Finder.

  • For nearly two decades, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has surveyed thousands of American teens and their parents. The surveys have “consistently found that the more often children have dinners with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs, and that parental engagement fostered around the dinner table is one of the most potent tools to help parents raise healthy, drug-free children.” Click here for the report on the impact of frequent family dinners.

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has compiled extensive resources for embracing healthier eating habits because “nutrition is for everyone.

  • The 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook, adapted by Epicurious, features 54 winning recipes from America’s junior chefs for the 2nd Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ “State Dinner.” The bill-of-fare includes everything from Sweet and Spicy Stir-Fry to Sneaky Chili Surprise.

  • Check out family dinners on Pinterest and you’ll immediately want to head to the kitchen. Be sure to check out the thrifty grocery shopping tips, lots of fast ‘n’ easy recipes, and how to create the ultimate pizza night.

  • Join Team Nutrition to promote nutrition and physical activity at elementary and middle schools with its popular and free events idea booklet. Get started with handouts, templates and lots of other terrific resources. Then find out how to create large and small themed events, from “My Plate Day: Fun With Five Food Groups” to “My Plate Grocery Store Treasure Hunt.” Game on! 

  • Family Meals May Defuse Cyberbullying's Impact. Having regular family meals may help protect teens from the harmful mental health effects of "cyberbullying," a new study suggests.

 

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