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Using Family Dinners to Build Healthy Mentalities

One of my most cherished memories is making homemade pasta with my mother in her Bosch mixer (which is now MY mixer). We would set up shop in the kitchen. My mother, my siblings and I would prepare an enormous meal for our extended family every other Sunday, complete with the pasta, fresh bread and salad. Everyone would always exclaim how delicious the food was, but it was not the meal itself that sticks out in my mind. It’s those hours spent in the kitchen with the boiling pots and chopping knives.

Studies have shown again and again that eating together as a family is a healthy and positive experience. But there have been other implications found in different surveys, which include the concept that even strangers eating the same meal together are more likely to build a sense of trust in one another.

A Healthy Mentality

How would you define a healthy mentality? It can start with being psychologically well adjusted, which is something that you aren’t born into. Family experiences and how a child is raised will play a big part in the way their brain functions and how they act throughout their life.

Everyone will have an opinion on the best way to raise a child to have the traits of a healthy adult. But we can all agree that it isn’t necessarily the big decisions that make this happen. Rather, it is the small, daily activities and experiences that help form who we are as people.

A family dinner can help with this in many little ways:

  • It helps to develop healthy eating habits.
  • It gives everyone a chance to check in with one another and discover any potential problems in a safe space.
  • It strengthens the bonds of a family.
  • It gives a social structure for healthy discussion and emotional connection.
  • It teaches good manners that will help a child moving forward in life.
  • It helps to structure and end the day in a consistent routine, which is beneficial for children.

What if Dinner Time Doesn’t Work for My Family?

This is a common question for busy families who don’t always have a “normal” schedule they can follow. Let’s say you or your partner works nights, or your children have an activity in the evening that only allows you to grab a quick bite.

Don’t fret, this can be done with any meal! Do you have some time in the morning before everyone goes about their day? Try waking everyone up a little earlier for a family breakfast. It has the same effect and can work more easily for families who have busy nights ahead of them.


Using Family Dinners to Build Healthy Mentalities

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter or LinkedIn.

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APA Reference
Jacobson, T. (2018). Using Family Dinners to Build Healthy Mentalities. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 22 Oct 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.