Connecting with your kids (and the planet) at the family table

This week several family food blogs are collaborating to celebrate Food Day by hosting a virtual progressive dinner party (see my post from yesterday).

Today, we’re in New York: Grace at and Kathleen at are providing the side dishes: flavorful wok broccoli (ingenious recipe), and sweet potato souffle. By coincidence (or perhaps not?) these are two of our family’s favorite vegetables (kale, which Bettina served yesterday) being a close third. Yum! Can’t wait to try them!

Now, why stretch out Food Day to an entire week? As Laurie David (author of The Family Dinner: Great way to connect with your kids, one meal at a time)) points out in her guest post on recently, eating family dinners together is an integral part of the broader food movement (she titles her post ‘Family Dinners and the Food Revolution’).

How do family dinners connect to the food revolution? Laurie argues that there are two reasons.

First, family dinners create stronger families. As Laurie writes, “Family dinner is one of those rituals that connects us, enriches us, nourishes our minds and our bodies. It’s where we learned how to listen and debate and discuss. It is our first participation in a community. We should be holding on to it for dear life, not tossing it away and replacing it with one-minute meals cooked by a microwave or eating on the run, next to our kitchen counter or in our car.”
The kitchen table is an important place for children to learn life’s lessons, and to bond with their families.

Second, what we eat is directly linked to broader issues of social and environmental justice. We may feel (and, as a mother of two young daughters, I often feel) too busy to focus on these issues in our day-to-day routines. But through the choices we make about eating and shopping for food (or growing our own), we can make positive contributions to reforming the food system.

So this week’s virtual #DinnerParty is about creating new habits and patterns in our family that will be good for us, and also good for other people and the planet. Why not try Meatless Mondays, for example? Or start a compost? Make a commitment to set aside a certain part of your grocery budget for organic food?

Making resolutions should (in my opinion) be an integral part of Food Day (sort of like New Year’s resolutions). What resolution can you make that will change your family’s eating habits year-round?

ps Laurie’s book and Family Dinner blog have lots of practical ideas for how to make family dinners more fun. Check them out!

3 thoughts on “Connecting with your kids (and the planet) at the family table

  1. Thanks Karen for the post and mentioning my website and resources. Much appreciated! I love that Food Day is inspiring resolutions in your family, though both you and Kristine sound like you are doing everything right! (We all need all the support we can get!)

    I do love Laurie’s book The Family Dinner Book; it is very inspiring. Hope you get a chance to read it soon.


  2. THANK YOU for recommending The Family Dinner. I put a hold on it at my library and there’s a wait list despite 5 copies in circulation. I’m proud to say that we eat dinner together every night and our dinners last between 45 and 60 minutes (with a 4.5 and a 2.5 year old) but making them more enjoyable is a goal of mine. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I know, I know, I should just buy it…


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