Benefits of Family Meals
A family eating a meal together.
view on EDIS

How to Cite

McCray, Varnessa, Victor W. Harris, and Martie Gillen. 2013. “Benefits of Family Meals: FCS2324/FY1362, 4/2013”. EDIS 2013 (5). Gainesville, FL.


Over the past 30 years obesity among children has increased. One way to help youth make healthy food choices is by creating healthy eating choices and habits at home, starting with family meals. When parents value family dinners, children are likely to view family dinners as important. Family meals can provide important examples to show children what foods are good to eat and how much of the good foods they should eat. This 5-page fact sheet was written by Varnessa McCray, Victor W. Harris, and Martie Gillen, and published by the UF Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, April 2013.
view on EDIS


Abbot, J.M., & Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (2010). A tool for facilitating meal planning. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 42(1), 66-68.

Ackard, D. M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2001). Family mealtime while growing up: Associations with symptoms of bulimia nervosa. Eating Disorders 9(3), 239-249.

Condrasky, M. (2006). Cooking with a chef. Journal of Extension, 44(4), Retrieved from

Croll, J., Hannan, P.J., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Perry, C., & Story, M. (2003). Family meal patterns: Association with sociodemographic characteristic and improved dietary intake among adolescents. Journal of American Dietetic Association 103(3), 317-322.

Eisenberg, M. E., Olson, R. E., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Bearinger, L.H. (2004). Correlations between family meals and psychosocial well-being among adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 158(8), 792-796.

Fulkerson, J. A., Kubik, M. Y., Story, M., Lytle, L., & Arcan, C. (2009). Are there nutritional and other benefits associated with family meals among at-risk youth? Journal of Adolescent Health 45(4), 389-395.

Fulkerson, J. A., Story, M., Mellin, A., Leffert, N., NeumarkSztainer, D., & French, S. A. (2006). Family dinner meal frequency and adolescent development: Relationships with developmental assets and high-risk behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health 39(3), 337-345.

Hamilton, S. K. & Wilson, J. H. (2009). Family mealtimes: Worth the effort? Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition 1(6), 346-350.

Hunt, G., Fazio, A. MacKenzie, K., & Moloney, M. (2011). Food in the family: Bringing young people back in. Appetite 56(2), 394-402.

Lanigan, J., & Power, T. G. (2008). Obesity prevention and health promotion: How family life educators view their role. Journal of Extension 46(6). Retrieved from

McIntosh, W. A., Kubena, K. S., Tolle, G., Dean, W. R., Jan, J., & Anding, J. (2010). Mothers and meals: The effects of mothers' meal planning and shopping motivations on children's participation in family meals. Appetite 55(3), 623-628.

Snow, C. E., & Beals, D. E. (2006). Mealtime talk that supports literacy development. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 2006 (111), 51-66.

Thomas, H.M.C., & Irwin, J. D. (2011). Cook it up! A commucooking program for at risk youth: Overview of a food literacy intervention. BMC Research Notes 4(495), 1-7.

Thonney, P. F., & Bisogni, C. A. (2006). Cooking up fun! A youth development strategy that promotes independent food skills. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 38, 321-323.

Walters, L. M., & Stacey, J. E. (2009). Focus on food: Development of the cooking with kids experiential nutrition education curriculum. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 41(5), 371-373.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.