September is National Family Meals Month™, a time to encourage families to enjoy meals together—with the goal of eating one more meal at home per week.1
Sharing meals at home can strengthen relationships and provide a variety of benefits for every person at the table. No matter your schedule or the hurdles you encounter, eating together is possible. It’s easy to carve out the time with some planning, quick tips, and shortcuts. Your minimal efforts now can pay dividends in the future.
The Science Behind Family Meals
Research points to health and wellness benefits associated with family meals for children and adults. Studies show that children and adolescents who eat more meals with their families at home are more likely to succeed in school and have high self-esteem, and less likely to battle obesity or substance abuse.2, 3
Greater frequency of family meals prepared and served at home is associated with balanced eating patterns that include more fruits and vegetables, less saturated fat and added sugar, and more fiber, calcium, and other beneficial nutrients.4, 5
Breaking Barriers to Eating Together
For many families, obstacles to eating together include lack of planning, schedule challenges, boredom with the same old recipes, and satisfying picky eaters or working with dietary restrictions. We can help you break these barriers and find ways to enjoy more meals together at home each week.
Plan Ahead for Smart Meals
Meals need not be elaborate or fancy. It takes just a few minutes to plan your menu and shopping list, and there are always shortcuts to save more time.
Try these tips:
- Shop the frozen section for meals on the fly. Better Choice shelf tags can help you select products that are lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar, and higher in fiber.
- Go organic in 10 minutes with our GreenWise Skillet Meals that serve two. Stock up on multiple meals for larger families and different varieties for varying tastes. Our GreenWise Organic Garlic Chicken Skillet Meal is a delicious Better Choice option!
- Check out our ready-to-cook meal solutions in the Meat department.
- Learn more about the art of meal planning.
Work Around Busy Schedules
On any given day, someone in your family may be working late, attending a meeting, or participating in sports or other activities. Carving out the time to prepare the meal and eat together may seem nearly impossible some weeks. Here are some ways to make it happen:
- At the beginning of each week, find a few meal times that work for everyone. Keep in mind that they don’t have to be dinners only. Maybe a weekend lunch is in order—or even some weekday breakfasts.
- Publix delivery* and curbside pickup,* Powered by Instacart, and ordering ahead online are your your friends when you're really looking to save time.
- Having a busy schedule doesn’t mean forgoing your nutrition goals. Find out how to eat better in a time crunch.
Try these meal ideas:
- Look for thin cuts of meat to save time cooking. Our simple Pork Chow Mein is a crowd-pleasing meal that includes pork sirloin cutlets.
- Breakfast is a fun meal to enjoy together—especially our Eggs in a Nest recipe. Single-serve portions are cooked in a muffin tin, so you can customize them to each family member’s preferences. Pair them with fresh fruit.
Find Your Inspiration
It’s easy to fall into the habit of serving the same dishes every week. If you’re in a recipe rut, here’s some inspiration to infuse variety into your menu with new items that check all the nutritional boxes for your family.
Asian Salmon Night
Prepare a super easy Asian-style salmon meal. Pick up salmon fillets, a vegetable medley, brown basmati rice, and orange sauce glaze with ginger. Simply follow the cooking directions on each package, and top your salmon with the glaze during the last few minutes of cook time. Dinner is served!
Be a Greek Hero!
Create your own trendy rice bowl or gyro with our GreenWise Deli Oven Roasted Chicken and these Mediterranean accompaniments: GreenWise Tri-Color Quinoa, Eat Smart Cauliflower Rice, Toufayan Multigrain Pita Bread, and Opaa! Tzatziki Greek Yogurt Dip. Make dinner extra simple by ordering these items now with Publix delivery,* Powered by Instacart.
Ideas for Picky Eaters and Dietary Restrictions
Many families have picky eaters—adults or children who have a short list of foods they like to eat. Or you may have family members who follow strict vegetarian diets or have dietary restrictions. Check out our strategies for working with those finicky foodies or dietary differences.
Enlist little helpers. Involving kids with meal planning can open their minds and palates to more options—and educate them on making smart choices. When trying a new recipe, bring them along as your assistants in shopping and preparation. If they have dietary restrictions, teach them how to plan meals and read food labels to find the appropriate foods.
Make a food bar. Create a self-serve station with a variety of toppings and options for customizing a meal. Taco night is a perfect opportunity!
- Start with corn (hard or soft) or whole wheat tortillas. Look for the smaller taco size.
- Prepare a protein option, such as ground turkey, chicken breast, or lean beef. Use a taco seasoning with less sodium.
- For vegetarians, include more variety with sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers.
- Add fiber to the meal with brown rice and reduced sodium black beans.
- Other delicious toppings include prechopped coleslaw and other prechopped veggies.
- Be sure to include shredded cheese. Look for Better Choice options with less saturated fat, or GreenWise organic cheeses.
- Spoon on the GreenWise organic salsa or fresh salsa.
- Chopped fresh cilantro and sliced avocado or guacamole are tasty additions to the spread.
Recipes for Your Health Goals
Our library of Publix Aprons® recipes offers something for everyone. Find dishes that check the boxes for multiple eating styles with our filters for Heart Smart, Carb Smart, Better Choice, Gluten Free, Lacto-ovo Vegetarian, and more.
For the Love of You
Choosing how you eat is uniquely personal. It’s about your needs, your preferences, and your goals. As your wellness ally, Publix is in your corner with fresh ideas, recipes, and wellness icons that make it easier to shift toward wiser food choices. It’s all about you, at your very best.
* Item prices vary from in-store prices. Service fees may apply. Available in select zip codes or locations. Additional terms apply.
1 “FMI: It's National Family Meals Month.” FMI - Food Marketing Institute. Accessed June 18, 2019.
2 FMI Foundation. “Food Marketing Institute Infographics.” Food Marketing Institute. Accessed June 18, 2019.
3 Hammons, Amber J., and Barbara H. Fiese. “Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents?” Pediatrics 127, no. 6 (June 2011): 1565-74. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-1140.
4 Martin-Biggers, Jennifer T., Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein, John Worobey, and Carol Byrd-Bredbenner. “Benefits of Family Mealtime Across the Growing Years: A Conceptual Model.” The FASEB Journal No. 1 supplement, no. 26 (April 2012): lb1-1163.7.
5 Gillman, M. W., S. L. Rifas-Shiman, A. L. Frazier, H. R. Rockett, C. A. Camargo, Jr., A. E. Field, C. S. Berkey, and G. A. Colditz. “Family Dinner and Diet Quality Among Older Children and Adolescents.” Archives of Family Medicine 9, no. 3 (March 2000): 235-40.