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Newsletter: September 2016

Strengthening Family Bonds at the Dinner Table

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There are a number of excellent reasons to have regular family dinners, but when we ask people why they want to improve their dinner routine at home, the answer usually boils down to one simple idea:

We want to feel more connected to each other.

The dinner table presents a unique opportunity for bonding, since — let’s face it — food is always a successful lure to get people together. (Ever notice how colleges provide free snacks at events where they really need student turnout?) But on a Wednesday night after soccer practice, how in the world are you supposed to promote “family bonding” on top of everything else?

  1. Tell a family story. Research shows that kids who know their family histories are more resilient and feel more connected to their families than kids who don’t. If you’re having trouble getting started, try playing the “Which One…?” game to get the stories flowing.
    Which One…?
  2. Be silly. “Bonding” feels like serious business, but it doesn’t have to be! Just goofing around together and sharing some laughs will boost everyone’s mood and automatically help you feel closer to one another. These three totally silly dinner games are a good place to start.
    Higglety Pigglety
    Cat and Cow
    Would You Rather…?
  3. Ask one important question. If you’re up to it, one good, deep question can tell you a lot about the people around the table. Here are three that we recommend for sparking connections:
    Tell me something about yourself that you think I may not know.
    What makes you feel loved?
    Where in the world do you feel the most free to be yourself?

September 26, 2016 is CASA Family Day, a day devoted to celebrating the power of parental engagement in keeping kids substance-free. Building on the research that shows that regular family dinners lower the likelihood of teens engaging in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, The Family Dinner Project is partnering with CASA Columbia to build awareness and encourage families to come together for some quality time on this (and every other!) day.

This month, we’re featuring the Zhang family from West Virginia. After learning about The Family Dinner Project and making meals at home a priority, they’ve seen amazing benefits to their health and well-being!

Real Family Dinner Projects: The Zhang Family »


One of our favorite young cooks, Chef Nate, connects with his family on busy school nights by making this fast and delicious pasta recipe!

Chef Nate’s Sausage Fusilli »


Ingredients Race

Enjoy some quality family fun—and food learning!—with an Ingredient Race.

Ingredient Race »


Celebrate Family Day and connect with each other through these conversation starters we developed in partnership with CASA Columbia.