April 19, 2021

Make the Most of Mealtimes

Consider not just "What's for dinner?, but "What's dinner for?"

Think back to some of your favorite memories as a child, to the meaningful events that took place over holidays, or to a time when you felt special and cared for. Most likely, those memories involved sharing a meal with someone you care about. Having a meal with a loved one provides an opportunity to connect, share your story, and feel a sense of belonging, forming a space in the day that can boost our social-emotional health. Family mealtimes fill more than just your belly, they feed your soul.  

As Chickasaw Nation Department of Health knows, there is strong evidence that children who take part in family meals receive more than the physical benefits of healthy nutrition; they also have improved psychological well-being, and greater academic achievement. Compared to teens who have infrequent family meals, those who eat with family regularly are half as likely to use tobacco.  

The benefits that come with family meals are why Chickasaw Nation created an initiative called Mealtime Blessings--a campaign focused on families gathering and sharing a meal together. They have a variety of resources to encourage and engage families in meaningful mealtimes, including videos, family mealtime journals, and recipe cards. They said it best, “Math can make kids better with numbers. Reading can make kids better with words. Family mealtime can make kids better. Period.” 

Knowing that barriers to eating healthy family meals may include different needs and busy schedules, Healthier Generation and Kohl’s created resources to support families in making mealtimes more nutritious and meaningful. From Quick, Healthy Meal Planning to Making the Most of Mealtimes, bite-sized changes can make a big impact.  

So, what’s for dinner wherever you are tonight? Consider making good conversation and family bonding a part of the menu!  

To see more from ChickasawNation Department of Health, check out their Mealtime Blessings Facebook page and Twitter account @mealtimebless and use #MealtimeMatters to join the movement.  

For more family-friendly resources in English and Spanish, visit KohlsHealthyatHome.org and discover Healthier Generation’s latest tips for eating well, moving more, and feeling your best. 

Kayla Bowman

Senior Manager, Virtual Learning | Alliance for a Healthier Generation