National Family Meals Month

September is National Family Meals Month! This mission is all about taking initiative to encourage families to eat at the table together more often!


According to a recent poll, only 20% of American families with children eat together seven nights out of the week. In addition, only 75% percent of families are eating together at least four nights out of the week.

This campaign really hits home for me, because as a child, my family and I rarely ate together at the dinner table. It's not to say we never ate together at all, but most of the time it was sitting in the living room in front of the television. According to another poll, of families that ate together, 33% admitted the television was on during the entire course of the meal.

I'm not sure if this had any impact on some of my own disordered eating past, but I do know eating at the table together is something I've always longed for and wanted for my own family and home. In our first home, my husband and I had NO ROOM for a dining table in our Kitchen area, thus we were forced to eat in the Living Room -- usually in front of the television. Now that we've moved into a larger home with TWO dining areas, I still find it a difficult habit to break. I find myself eating in front of the television often. The times we do eat at the table it's difficult to even know how to converse with one another because we're both so used to the television keeping us entertained!

Eating at the table can have the following benefits for children and families (from

  • Teens that dine with their families at least five times a week are almost one and half times less likely to report high levels of stress.

  • Teens who have frequent family meals are twice as likely to get A's in school.

  • Teens who have frequent family meals are one and a half times more likely to report an excellent relationship with their mother and father.

  • Teens who eat frequently with their families are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.

  • Studies show that teens who share at least 5 meals weekly with their family are 335% less likely to develop an eating disorder. 

In addition, eating together as a family can also be great practice for mindful eating. Mindful eating involves eating without distraction, especially distractions form the television and other technology. One research study indicated the more tv we watch, the more weight we gain (source). They were also more likely to report having less satisfaction from their meal and not being able to remember how much they had consumed. 

The Family Meals Together campaign requests for each family to take a pledge in increasing time spent together as a family at the dinner table. To take the pledge, simply do the follow:

1) Get your family together at the dinner table and say you're going to eat together more often (bonus if you make it at least 5 times a week).

2) Hold up a napkin with a family's name on it nominating them to take the pledge. Snap a photo or take a video!

3) Use #takebackthetable and tag your nominated family when you share you photo on social media sites! 

That said, I'm pledging to all of you the same! I pledge that my husband and I will eat together at the dinner table, distraction free, at least 3 times a week. I'm also nominating all of you to take the pledge. Along with tagging your photos with #familymealsmonth and #takebackthetable, you can also tag them with #mwtakebackthetable for me to see YOUR pledges! 


If you would like more help with Mindful Eating or for Family Interventions for your children and family, Madden Wellness offers Family Counseling for many different issues related to the eating behaviors of children and adolescents. Please click here to learn more information. 


Amber Madden is a Licensed Counseling Associate specializing in Eating Disorders and Obesity. She is the Clinical Director at Madden Wellness Counseling, PLLC. She utilizes her skills in addiction to assist her clients in with Binge Eating, "food addictive" patterns, and develop a positive approach to overall health and wellness. She has a passion for assisting clients in achieving their health goals and learning to love nutritious foods and exercise. For more information visit