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Newsletter: January 2016

Family Dinner Resolutions

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Family Dinner Resolutions


The New Year’s resolution is a tradition that tends to elicit one of two reactions from people: Either you’re the type of person who enjoys making resolutions, or you’re the type of person who groans at the very thought. Those who like resolutions say it motivates them to make positive changes and helps them to view the turning of the calendar page as a fresh start. People on the other side of the debate might argue that most resolutions are overly ambitious and end up discarded before January has even come to a close.

Whatever your preference, we’re offering these ideas for family dinner resolutions you and your family can actually act on — and stick to — in 2016. From one-time efforts to long-term changes, there’s a New Year’s resolution here for everyone.

As we did last year, The Family Dinner Project is partnering with Points of Light for the 2016 America’s Sunday Supper event and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. You can bring important conversations about equality, service to others and civil rights to your family dinner table by dedicating your Sunday dinner on January 17 to this worthwhile initiative. Learn more about the event, get resources and sign up to hold an America’s Sunday Supper on the Points of Light website. Also, keep watching The Family Dinner Project website, Facebook and Twitter feeds for dedicated conversation starters and resources for families to help bring this important dialogue to dinner guests of all ages.

Even those of us who have regular family dinners often feel the pressure of packed schedules. As one busy parent told us, “By the time I manage to get everyone to the table to eat the meal I’ve cooked, all I can think about is eating and cleaning up so we can move on to the next thing!” Quality matters, so if you can relate to the struggle of squeezing in a positive and enjoyable family meal amidst the other daily tasks, try resolving to linger at the table as a family. It doesn’t have to happen every night or even every week; maybe you can start just by trying to notice when you’ve got a less stressful evening ahead of you, and making the decision to encourage everyone to slow down in that moment.

To encourage lingering, you might pull out a favorite board game at the end of the meal, serve a special dessert after the dishes are cleared or bring out a family joke jar. For more ideas to keep everyone at the table for some quality time, check out our Between Dinner and Dessert section.

If you love the idea of family dinners, but find that having regular, meaningful interactions around the table is a challenge, you might need some tips to help you shake up your mealtime routine. Our free program, “Food, Fun and Conversation: 4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners” has helped numerous families improve their dinner table experiences. Throughout the course of the 4 weeks, you’ll find the basics of setting a rewarding and fun family dinner routine broken down into manageable goals and steps, with tips and resources offered at every step of the way.
You can sign up for the program here.

Family dinners are fun, but community dinners come with a whole new level of engaging conversation and interaction. Gathering with others in your area to share a meal is a great way to break down barriers and get everyone talking about things that matter. We’ve been proud to be a part of hundreds of community dinner events across the country, but we’re especially excited to unveil a new resource for 2016: “Bytes and Bites: A Community Dinner Guide About Digital Life.”

We developed the guide with our partners at Common Sense Education, to help families and communities work together to discuss important issues related to digital citizenship, social media use and online presence in an increasingly technological world. You can learn more about our work with Common Sense Education and download the free resource here.



Cozy up with some comfort food as winter sets in! This one-pot chicken recipe would be perfect for a Sunday Supper.

Smothered Chicken with Apple Cider Gravy



Make this game a New Year’s celebration by choosing people you actually would like to eat with in 2016 — and make sure to keep track, so you can invite them over this year!

Who’s Coming to Dinner?



Look back at 2015 with our recent Conversation of the Week about “looking for the helpers.”

Year-End Review: Help in Tough Times