Family Meals Can Be a Reality

Family mealtimes used to be the foundation of everyone’s day, but now about 30 to 35 percent of families eat together less than three times a week, despite research showing the benefits of family meals.


The North Dakota State University Extension Service is launching “The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect,” a program to provide families with tips, meal plans, recipes and conversation starters to help make family meals a reality.


“Studies have shown that families who eat together often choose more healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables,” says Shaundra Ziemann-Bolinske, FCS Agent. “Family meals are a perfect time to teach your children about eating healthfully.”


Family meals also have a positive impact on children in school and socially, research shows.


“Children are more confident and get better grades, and they are more involved in school-based activities,” Ziemann-Bolinske says. “They also are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs.”


In addition, eating meals together gives family members an opportunity to communicate and develop lifelong relationships, and reduce stress. Eating meals together at home also can save money.


“The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect” website ( will provide information on monthly topics, such as meal planning, making mealtime fun, cooking basics, buying nutritious food on a limited budget, getting kids involved in meal preparation and family fitness. The site also will have links to local related events.


You’ll be able to sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips, and follow the program on Facebook as we share the posts at or for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family meals.


“Finding time for family meals can be a challenge because of everyone’s busy schedule, so be creative,” Ziemann-Bolinske says. “Family meals can be at any time or place.”


Visit to learn more about The Family Table.


For more information, contact Shaundra Ziemann-Bolinske, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, at 701 221-6865 or    



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