A Family that Eats Together Stays Together

Family mealtimes appear to be something of the past. Sitting down together as a family doesn’t happen in many families. In today’s wild world, family meals are something that needs to be fought for and reignited. Every child, teenager, or young adult needs connection. We need one another, and especially family members need each other.

The Disappearance of the Dinner Table

How did this once everyday event disappear? What happened to the Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house? It is a spiritual problem. What better family function to ruin than destroying family support and love? It started when we all got too busy, including me. 

I look back to when our kids were in grade school and middle school and remember how crazy our evenings were. Three kids in sports, running everyone to practice, trying to get homework finished, and dinner from a fast-food restaurant. It wasn’t something I had planned, but I needed some help! However, things escalated. I felt like time was being snatched right out of my hand. 

I was a young Christian mom, distraught by what was happening. One morning, I sat down and cried to God, “How is this happening in our family, and what can I do?” I want to say God magically answered my prayer, and dinner time as a family reappeared. After much prayer and reading God’s word, I knew, with God’s help, I could stop the merry-go-round and prioritize planning for family meals. 

Did God care that we were becoming a detached family and ate meals on the run? Had I overcommitted myself and my children? 

Who was in charge of the time in our home? If it was me, I had indeed messed it up. I realized that my kids were over-committed; one of our sons was in two sports, our daughter was playing sports and involved in music, and our oldest son was in double sports and extracurricular school activities. I was also too busy with school parent–teacher association, bible study, part-time job, etc. My husband had to choose which game to go to or which practice to attend.

Beyond the Busy

As I was reading my bible one morning during this crazy time in our lives, I read Matthew 11:28-29,

“Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Boy, did I need some rest? I committed the rest of my morning to praying and researching busyness, over-committing, and the importance of family mealtimes.

The studies and statistics I found were shocking but very supportive of families eating together. While writing this article, I revisited some places I had researched earlier. Family mealtimes are now even more critical.

Family mealtimes offer many benefits for the whole family. It promotes family cohesion and provides many valuable tools for healthier living, physical and emotional. It doesn’t matter in what part of the world you live or if you are in a low-income or high-income family; the barriers are the same. 

Taking Back Control

According to a Harvard Graduate School of Education study, regular family dinners are associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, tobacco use, teen pregnancy, and contribute to higher resilience and self-esteem. 

We are too busy. Mom is too tired to cook after a busy day at work or other obligations, the family can’t agree on food choices, or priorities conflict for family time.

A few years ago, I wrote a book called Manners Matter (which they do,) but how much more does food matter or the experience of dining together? 

After reading all the statistics about why eating together matters, I know it’s the communion of being together, the pure joy of hearing about one another’s day, whether good or bad or knowing someone cares that is essential for healthy families.

We tend to think this meal must be dinner, but it may be breakfast, lunch, or brunch. We have 21 opportunities a week. I encourage you to remember that having a meal as a family is vital in many areas. Here are ten reasons that will enable you to get the family together.

Benefits of family mealtimes:

Promotes good eating habits and food choices and less weight-control issues in the future.

Builds self-esteem, and it’s an opportunity to let your children know they are valued.

Prevents Mental Health disorders, especially substance abuse , sexual activity, and suicidal thoughts.

Promotes good communication skills such as listening and taking turns talking.

Builds better relationships in families.

Improves learning, literacy, and academic performance.

Establishes traditions – such as birthdays or cultural holidays.

Helps save money. 

Learn manners to last a lifetime.

More resilience to bullying and cyberbullying.

Sometimes, we need a nudge to get us back on track. This is a reminder that families are the foundational institution on earth, and the enemy is working overtime to keep us apart. Consider the following tips to change your present routines from eating on the run to a time that is beneficial for all your family members.

Tips for making family meals happen:

Start small — it may be just one meal a week, and it doesn’t have to be dinner!

Plan a specific date and pray for success.

Make it a high priority.

Establish mealtime rules: manners, etiquette, kindness, no television or electronic devices.

Make a meal plan with input from family members (favorites).

Make easy-to-fix meals your family enjoys, or dust off your crockpot.

Set a pretty table and say grace before mealtime.

Involve all family – delegate a specific chore to help -cooking, setting the table, clearing up.

Let everyone know the time frame.


Cowboy Casserole

This quick and easy meal is kid friendly and continues to be enjoyed by both adults and children. This tasty dish will bring out the cowboy or cowgirl in anyone! Prep time is 20 minutes and only takes 30 minutes to bake. 


lb of ground beef

1 lg can pork and beans (28 oz)

¼ cup barbeque sauces

2-Tablespoons brown sugar

Salt to taste

1 small onion, chopped

1 can jumbo biscuits

1 cup cheddar cheese – shredded


Brown the beef and onions and place in a greased casserole dish.

Add the can of pork and beans, barbeque sauce, and brown sugar and mix together.

Cut the biscuits in half and place the cut side down on top of the meat mixture around the edge of the dish. 

Sprinkle the cheese on top of the biscuits 

Bake for 30 minutes @ 375ºF

Enjoy with a green salad. 

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