New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
Hunterdon County Partnership for Health Kicks-off “Commit to Family Meals” Campaign

The proven health and societal benefits of family meals inspire a local health coalition to help families get back to the table.

With an aim to inspire families to eat at home together more often, as a service to public health, Hunterdon County Partnership for Health (PFH) is encouraging families to share one more meal together per week at home, and highlighting simple, healthy meal resources to make it easier for families to “raise their mitt,” as in oven mitt, to commit to making these meals happen.

Numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic, and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family, yet according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night. In addition, recent research proves that people who frequently cook at home eat fewer and healthier calories.

It’s time we spotlight the long-term benefits of family meals, and start a conversation that encourages and inspires people to return to the kitchen.

“It’s time we spotlight the long-term benefits of family meals, and start a conversation that encourages and inspires people to return to the kitchen,” said Colette Camisa, Co-Chair of the PFH’s Healthy Lifestyle Action Team. “Juggling the demands of modern life—school, sports, jobs and long commutes— can sabotage the best laid plans for home-cooked meals. In addition to our commitment to public health overall, we want to have a hand in helping our community prepare wholesome meals together at home, as a modern family tradition. We also recognize the science behind family meals leading to better school performance, reduction in obesity, and lower rates of substance misuse and other risky behaviors.”

“Interest in creating more opportunities for families to eat meals together is at a critical point in our society,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, creator of National Family Meals Month™. “The will to return to the table exists, but families need a friendly, familiar voice to encourage, guide and help them. That voice comes from organizations they know and trust.”

Recognizing Mealtime Struggles are Real and Shared by Families of All Shapes and Size

ShopRite of Hunterdon County, a PFH member, is offering more solutions which give shoppers the tools they need to make family meals easier. Family Meal cases in the front of their stores feature a Recipe of the Week, with all the ingredients in one place. They also offer prepared healthy options on their hot buffet to grab and go. All of their stores have dietitians on-hand to help families with meal planning, address dietary concerns and prepare meals on a budget.

Raise Your Mitt to Commit™ to One More Meal at Home per Week

The Hunterdon County Partnership for Health encourages our community to join the family meal movement by pledging to one more meal at home per week. Make it official, and shareable, by posting a selfie wearing your favorite oven mitt with the hashtag #SmallChangesBigImpact, and follow us on Facebook at Hunterdon County Partnership for Health.

Launched in 1995, the Hunterdon County Partnership for Health is a coalition of more than 60 multi-sector organizations throughout Hunterdon County with a common goal of improving our residents’ health and wellness. Connect with us and become a partner.

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Project
Author
Kim Blanda, RN, BSN
Organization
Hunterdon Healthcare, Hunterdon Partnership for Health