By Lara McCauley, Vice President Corporate Affairs, Mars Food North America
All across the country parents are beginning to fill out their calendars in anticipation of the school year starting. While the preparation for each new school year can be trying, having routines in place again is a simple joy that most families appreciate. It’s not just the daily rhythm of getting kids clean, dressed and homework finished that brings a sense of normalcy to family life. It’s also the routine of family meal times that can help.
With so much new to share every day, parents search for moments where they can bring the family together, and there’s no better place to do this than the kitchen and the dinner table. Using dinner prep time to catch a few extra moments with each other is a great way to stretch the average 18-20 minute duration of meals into a longer conversation.
While it might seem like families are spending less time eating together, this might not necessarily be the case. A survey shows that 77 percent of families with school-aged kids reported they ate dinner together “always” or “frequently.” As many as 10 different pieces of research found that children who participate in dinner prep or eat with their family are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables, perform better in school and have better relationships with other family members than those who are not as involved.
With so many benefits, how do we help families invest even more in dinner time? Simply by making it an easy affair that everyone can participate in. Here are some easy ways the grocery store can help encourage all family members to roll up their sleeves and help:
As parents and kids get ready for routines once again, you can help them by participating in the Food Marketing Institute’s Family Meals Month in September. Or encouraging them to join the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand in encouraging family meals by participating in the Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest. Learn more at unclebens.com as families get back to school, back to routines and back to the dinner table.