Importance of Family Dinners

Family dinners in our house are more than a habitual meal – they are my treasured moments each day to connect with my family. That’s why I support Home Instead Senior Care’s commitment to bring back Sunday Dinner.

When it comes to our senior loved ones, mealtime becomes even more important – it’s a vital component of healthy aging. Research shows that when seniors eat with a companion they have a more balanced, positive meal experience – both nutritionally and emotionally. It’s proven to be critical to quality nutrition, medication management and preventing feelings of isolation. Sharing nutritious and balanced meals not only helps families physically, but also mentally.

In spite of its importance, half of North Americans who live near senior relatives say they do not have enough sit-down dinners with their loved ones. And the reason so many of us have let the family dinner take a back seat? Time. Forty percent of families list it as the culprit for not taking part in a family dinner ritual, and 52 percent blame conflicting schedules.

In our overscheduled lives, it’s easier to pick up fast food and catch up on a DVR. I think we have the tendency to think, “If I can’t do it perfectly, then I’m not going to do it at all.” Well I say, “Do it imperfectly!” Mealtime traditions should not be so quickly dismissed. Get in the habit of getting dinner on the table. It doesn’t have to take hours to prepare or a lot of money for ingredients. Some of the recipes I’ve developed with Home Instead are possible to make in 30 minutes and with less than $20 to feed a family of four.

I believe if I had to choose between the people around the table or the food that’s on it, I would choose the people. The important thing is that you’re taking the time to be together, especially when this small commitment can have a big impact on the health of our families and loved ones.

Once you get in the habit of coming together as a family, it’s amazing to see how you can find a way to toss something into the slow-cooker or spend an hour on Sundays making a roast pork or chicken that serves as great leftovers throughout the week. It can be a simple dinner and nothing fancy. But that’s okay. For me, it doesn’t matter. I’m still going to have dinner with my family.

That’s why I encourage you all to pledge to hold a family dinner at For each person that pledges, the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation will donate $1 to Meals on Wheels America up to $20,000. This means your pledge will not only bring your family together, but also help bring nutritious meals to other seniors.

To give you some inspiration for your own family meal, I’ve created a few simple, healthy recipes that will be a hit with all generations. Check out my newest recipe, Oven-Roasted Salmon with Mango-Lime Salsa on