January 7, 2015 marks the release of Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids by Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D. It is such a great time of year to release a book such as this one that focuses on family and food. Personally I have been inspired after reading this to add a new weekly feature on my blog about food and family. As a mom of two boys 8 and 11 I find that as a family we learn so much about each others days around the dinner table. It seems as if food has become a past time for many families as they rush from one activity to another.People are getting pulled in so many directions that food has become an after thought or even a bother. Many eat their meals in a car or fast food places as they rush around. I try my best to keep meal time sacred and I still learned so much while reading this book.
About the book:
Kids need more than food. They’re starving for family dinners.
Sports, activities, long hours, and commutes — with so much to do, dinner has been bumped to the back burner.
But research shows that family dinners offer more than just nutrition. Studies have tied shared meals to increased resiliency and self-esteem in children, higher academic achievement, a healthier relationship to food, and even reduced risk of substance abuse and eating disorders.
Written by a Harvard Medical School professor and mother, Home for Dinner makes a passionate and informed plea to put mealtime back at the center of family life and supplies compelling evidence and realistic tips for getting even the busiest of families back to the table. Chock full of stories, new research, recipes, and friendly advice, the book explains how to:
- Whip up quick, healthy, and tasty dinners
- Get kids to lend a hand (without any grief)
- Adapt meals to the needs of everyone — from toddlers to teens
- Inspire picky eaters to explore new foods
- Keep dinnertime conversation stimulating
- Add an element of fun
- Reduce tension at the table
- Explore other cultures and spark curiosity about the world
- And more
Mealtime is a place to unwind and reconnect, far from the pressures of school and work. As the author notes, family therapy can be helpful, but regular dinner is transformative.
As I said before I found this book quite inspiring, and want to expand on it weekly. The author is also the co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, a community website that is all about food, fun, family and bringing the conversation back to what really matters. I immediately connected with this book. I loved how it began with facts about the scientific and emotional about having a meal together. The book also explores many types of families and breaksdown information and meals for children at different levels of development. What works for a toddler isn’t going to work for a teen and vice versa. Fishel offers many doable tips on getting everyone to pitch in, dealing with time constraints and even fun table games and conversation starters. One of my favorites is using a recipe to tell a story. My boys are more willing to try something new if I tell them a story about when I was a child or when I first tried a certain item. The book also touches on areas about divorce, when a family member is ill and dealing with poor food memories from the past. It works on change. Home For Dinner also includes easy to make recipes that any family can enjoy. I truly enjoyed this read and would recommend it whether or not you already have family dinners or if you are looking for a chance to reconnect with your family.
Take a peek and try a recipe yourself:
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts belong to me.