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Newsletter: January 2018

Looking Back: A Year’s Worth of Family Dinners

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As a New Year begins, most of us are doing two things: reflecting on the year that’s just passed, and making resolutions for the one ahead of us. When it comes to the family dinner table, both of those activities can be useful in making your mealtimes the best they can be.

Over the past year, we’ve learned so much from real families about the way they make family dinners work in their homes. Here’s a look back at some of our favorite pieces of wisdom from families like yours:

  • “In high school we gave him five ‘get out of dinner’ passes, which he ended up rarely using. By junior year he confessed his gratitude for the dinners….our ‘strictness about these stupid dinners’ gave him a great out when his friends tried to sway him to challenge us.” ~ The Darvick Family
  • “Family is most definitely the foundation of any child’s life. The Family Dinner Project showed me that to be successful in life, a bond with your family is important.” ~ The Townsend Family
  • “With feeding seven people, if three people will actually eat it, we call it a meal!” ~ The Swanson Family
  • “It is important to us as a family to spend time asking each other about our days and letting each other know that amidst the chaos of the day, in the end, he or she is ultimately what matters in our lives.” ~ The McLaughlin Family
  • “It’s very easy to rush through dinner, eat fast, and quickly leave the table to do all the other things that need to get done versus enjoying the whole experience.” ~ The Nogueira Family

We’re not done learning from families about their dinners, and we hope you’ll share your experiences with us! As we look ahead to the New Year, we’re asking followers of The Family Dinner Project to complete a short survey about their dinnertime habits, to help us further improve our content and programs for families. All survey participants can enter to win an Amazon gift card!


Thank you for your ongoing engagement with The Family Dinner Project! Happy New Year!

Meet the Andersons! Danielle and Dane share how they keep family dinners fun and engaging for their kindergartener and his baby brother, despite busy schedules and a world of distractions.

Real Family Dinner Projects: The Anderson Family »



In some countries, like Italy, lentils are a traditional New Year’s food — their “coin” shape symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Try them in this unique soup recipe from our friends at AAFCS!

Corn and Turkey Meatball Lentil Soup »



Use family dinner as a time to reflect back and look forward with our Reflecting and Resolving activity.

Reflecting and Resolving »




Start the year off with some thoughts about how to improve your community. Try our Civic Conversation Starters at the dinner table.

Civic Conversation Starters »