New Survey Reveals The Family Dinner Is Still Important To Many

Eating together shouldn't be reserved for the holidays, but instead a daily occurrence. A new survey conducted by The Honey Baked Ham Company has found that 3 in 5 Americans would like to have more family meals. Why then do so few actually embrace gathering around the dinner table?

According to Sainsbury's, some of the leading reasons that families don't have dinner together is because of busy schedules (due to work, school or extracurriculars) and the stress of dealing with not knowing what to cook — picky eaters and contrasting diets also don't make matters easier. Likewise, given the ever increasing demand and desire for convenience foods, this has also led many to abandon the traditional dinner table in favor of fast food options and dining on the go.

However, there is something to be said about breaking bread together. In many cultures around the world mealtimes are often occasions of reflection and gratitude, notes UC Berkeley Health Services. A unifying act, dining as a family forces us to slow down in our fast paced world, which can have a bunch of benefits when compared to dining solo.

Craving togetherness is normal (and healthy)

The study also found that most of the respondents said having a family dinner was a key way to connect with one another, make memories, and even continue family traditions. In fact, Epicurious suggests that by going a step beyond dining together and also cooking together, family recipes and their legacies can even be passed down to the next generation, preserving a sense of culture.

Although the portrait of the nuclear family has changed in the last century, that doesn't mean that the importance of gathering together as a unit has changed. Eating together, especially when children are involved, has major advantages. Along with providing a sense of stability, The New York Times reports that when families eat together, kids learn to make healthier choices and are at a lesser risk of developing eating disorders or even experiencing substance abuse. 

A great occasion for communication and bonding, The Family Dinner Project suggests that the pandemic might have even worked to change our preservative and habits when it comes to dining together, promoting a sense of togetherness that continues to be craved beyond the days of quarantine — that's right, the family dinner table is making a comeback.