On September 12, 2018, Live Well Omaha Kids’ Sheena Kennedy Helgenberger and Ashley Carroll spoke with WOWT 6 News Dave Zawilinski about the benefits of families cooking and dining together more often. Here’s what they shared:

September is Family Dining Month

The WHAT

September is Family Dining Month. Live Well Omaha Kids and our community partners encourage families to cook and eat together more nights per week.

The WHY

Studies show that kids who eat at home with their families are more likely to try new foods and eat more nutritious foods. Family dining also benefits family communication, reduces stress, improves school performance and supports healthy teen development. Additionally, eating at home saves money – on average, eating three meals a week in, versus out, saves a family of four approximately $2,000 in one year!

The HOW

We want to help support families to do this by taking the Family Dining Pledge. Since 2013, over 2,500 families have committed to cooking and dining together more at home.

In order to help busy families enjoy the many benefits of family dining, Live Well Omaha Kids has created a Family Dining Toolkit. Inside you’ll find healthy recipes, dinner table conversation starters and much more.

Live Well Omaha Kids is also giving away prizes for families who take the pledge during Family Dining Month! Among the many wonderful things families can win are: $100 grocery store gift cards donated by Fresh Thyme and Hy-Vee supermarkets, four passes to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, and one-month family memberships to the YMCA. All you have to do is pledge to cook and dine together more as a family!

Strategies for a Successful Family Meal

  1. Remove all screens/technology
  2. Make dinnertime a positive atmosphere – save the tough conversations for after mealtime
  3. Make it easy and fun – incorporate icebreakers
  4. Offer healthy choices – aim to have half your plate made up of fruits and vegetables
  5. Involve the whole family in meal preparation, cooking or cleanup

Watch the interview to learn for yourself!