As the article relates, “In Franklin County, the most recent annual survey of teens shows that 58 percent of teens report that they have dinner with their families four or more nights a week — and that among those teens, there’s a dramatic correlation with lower use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana, a lower risk of depression and stronger connections with parents, along with a higher consumption of fruit.” Building upon that local research and the numerous other studies that have shown the benefits of family dinner for both children and adults, Dr. Fishel gave a talk to school and human services workers who deal directly with families to encourage them to help their clients make dinnertime a priority.
Read the account of Dr. Fishel’s lecture and community dinner in The Greenfield Recorder.
Recently, Dr. Fishel was honored to appear as a guest on the Live Happy podcast, talking about family dinners and discussing her book with listeners. In the episode, Dr. Fishel offers research, wisdom and advice about:
- Why regular family dinners are great for the body, brain and the spirit
- Tips for thriving conversation around the dinner table
- Why playing with your food is beneficial to mental health
- Ideas to overcome picky eaters, busy schedules and tension at the table
Listen to the podcast on the Live Happy site.
Each year, more than 9 in 10 Americans gather around the table with family and friends for Thanksgiving. But only 50 percent of us eat with our family on a regular basis. That’s too bad. Twenty years of research has shown that family dinners are great for the brain (enhancing preschool vocabulary and raising test scores), body (improving cardiovascular health in teens and lowering the odds of obesity) and spirit (reducing rates of behavioral problems, stress and substance abuse). But in extolling the virtues of the family dinner, we may have obscured what the meal is actually about and why it serves parents and children. In that gap lies a thick stew of myths.
1. Teens don’t want to eat with their parents
2. Family dinners are anti-feminist
3. Family dinners depend on a homemade meal
4. Families don’t have time to pull it off
5. Food fights make family dinners impossible
Read the article in full and find out what Dr. Fishel has to say about these five common family dinner myths on The Washington Post.
“If kids aren’t welcomed into the conversation, or if there’s criticism, you’re not going to see the benefits,” said Fishel, author of the book “Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids.” “There’s nothing magical about lasagna in itself.”
Among other points made in the interview, Dr. Fishel offered suggestions for families who may be too busy to gather around the dinner table every night. She also encouraged parents to involve kids actively in food preparation, which can lighten the workload as well as heighten children’s interest in family meals by giving them ownership of the process.
Learn more about the Canadian study and read the article in full on The Boston Globe’s website.
When Americans gather together around a table groaning with favorite dishes on the fourth Thursday of November, what are we doing beyond filling our bellies with turkey and pie? We convened four experts in the psychology of family traditions and shared meals for a roundtable discussion about what ritual means in the context of Thanksgiving.
Anne Fishel, psychologist and author of Home for Dinner: I think of Thanksgiving as the mother of all family dinners. As a ritual, it has all the important ingredients – a prescribed time and place; aspects that are predictable and repeated year after year (signature foods) and some that are novel (guests added and departed, new family stories and arguments); and meaning conveyed through symbols. Each year, families come together to revisit something familiar but keep adding new layers of meaning, so that the ritual is reinterpreted….
Read the entire article, with input from experts Janine Roberts, Barbara Fiese and Bill Doherty alongside Dr. Anne Fishel, on The Conversation.
On Thursday, October 22, 2015, parents and children ages 3-10 can join Dr. Anne Fishel for a fun interactive workshop at the South End Library, presented in conjunction with The Family Dinner Project as part of the Boston Book Festival.
Dr. Fishel has written extensively about the many benefits of family dinners, including a boost in literacy skills for kids, and how to use dinnertime as a fun opportunity to encourage reading. At this workshop, participants will eat foods from favorite children’s books, have conversations about reading, and have fun telling their own stories.
What’s your favorite food from a book? Green eggs and ham, Strega Nona’s magic noodles, or clam chowder from Moby Dick? Come eat, talk, and explore the many connections between dinner and reading.
4:30 p.m. Thursday, 10/22/15
South End Library, 685 Tremont Street, Boston
Space is limited — please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.