UACES Facebook Make family meals a priority: Join families nationwide for ‘Dine In Day’ Dec. 3
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Make family meals a priority: Join families nationwide for ‘Dine In Day’ Dec. 3

By Mary Hightower

UofA System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Saturday, Dec. 3 is ‘Dine In Day’
  • Rodibaugh: Event is meant to encourage family togetherness
  • Dine In Day a project of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Arkansas Extension Service

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LITTLE ROCK – Soccer practice. Grocery run. Working late. We’ve all had that kind of family-on-the-run kind of day that makes sitting down to dinner together almost impossible.

However, on Saturday, Dec. 3, make an appointment with your family to all gather around the dining room table for “Dine In Day,” with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

Dine In Day logo

There’s so much about dining together that’s good for all of us, researchers have found.

“A major reason for encouraging family meals is that children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier eating patterns than those who share fewer than three family meals together,” said Dr. Rosemary Rodibaugh, a professor with the Division of Agriculture, “but it is also it is an opportunity to strengthen family bonds.”

The routine of family meals can generate feelings of closeness and comfort. Most research suggests that both parents and children value sharing a meal together. It offers time to talk and listen to each other. The simple act of regular mealtimes can provide your child with stability. And it's a great opportunity for parents to model healthy eating habits.

Take part in “Dining In Day” by planning a simple, healthy meal to cook with your family and eat at home on Dec. 3.

“It doesn’t have to be fancy -- just a tasty meal prepared at home and eaten together,” Rodibaugh said. “Take a selfie with your family cooking and post it to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram using #healthyfamselfie and #FCSDay.  Encourage your friends to do it too!”

Rodibaugh said that last year, more than 125,000 people across the United States committed to preparing and eating a healthy meal together on Dec. 3.

“This year, we want to increase the number of commitments to 200,000!” she said. “This is a nationwide effort, so let’s put Arkansas the map!”

Here are 10 tips for making dining in easy and enjoyable:

  • Make family meals a priority and agree upon a schedule.
  • Try to have regular family meals two to three times a week.
  • If dinnertime doesn't work, have family breakfasts or snacks.
  • Keep meals simple. Slow cookers save time in the evening.
  • Double recipes and freeze food for a second meal.
  • Set aside 30 minutes on the weekend for meal planning.
  • Make family meals fun and include children in food preparation.
  • Discuss neutral or positive topics at the table.
  • Eliminate distractions such as TV and cell phones or other electronic devises.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your time as a family.

 For more information on healthy eating and happy families contact your county FCS agent, or visit

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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