The Family Dinner ChallengeMon 10 Jun 2013
Story by Aviva Goldfarb
Lately I’ve been a little worried. Perhaps you are as concerned as I am about how to combat this obesity and disease epidemic we are facing in the U.S., how to help families stay connected to each other emotionally amid the technological overload, and how to help kids grow up to be physically and emotionally healthy. There’s got to be something more we can do.
The Six O’Clock Scramble
Ten years ago I launched The Six O’Clock Scramble to help families get healthier, homemade dinners on the table with a lot less stress and expense so they could bring joy and good nutrition back to the dinner table. The idea has caught on, with tens of thousands of families using The Scramble to plan and cook meals, but it’s still not nearly enough.
That’s why I am excited and hopeful as we launch one of the biggest initiatives we've ever attempted, which we’re calling the Family Dinner Challenge.
The Family Dinner Challenge
In honor of The Six O'Clock Scramble's 10th anniversary this summer, my ambitious goal is to get 10,000 families to commit to eating dinner together at least 3 times a week for 4 weeks between now and September (which we’re modestly calling Family Dinner Month).
We're going to give everyone who takes the challenge all the tools they need, including weekly menus, recipes and grocery lists, a chart to keep track of their dinners eaten together, conversation starters, and other helpful materials to make the challenge a success for their families. Our hope is that they are so inspired by the positive changes that take place during the challenge that they will continue making family dinners a priority in their busy lives.
When I first had kids, I wanted to make healthy family dinners a priority but I found the whole process daunting and stressful. After lots of trial and error (and some tearful consults with my mom), I developed a simple system to make it unbelievably easy for busy parents to get homemade dinners on the table, even if they work outside the home at intense jobs and their kids have lots of after school activities.
For most families, dinnertime is when parents and kids can all be in the same room at the same time. Now that my kids are teens, dinnertime is often the ONLY time we can disconnect from technology and connect with each other around real conversations.
But how can we get more families to eat dinner together? What if we all make a commitment to ourselves and each other to make family dinners a priority for just one month?
As someone who has already made the commitment to making healthy food a priority, I am hoping that you will take the challenge yourself and help me spread the word to your community about the Family Dinner Challenge via Facebook or other means (on the Family Dinner Challenge page there is a button you can post on Facebook encouraging others to take it, too). I would so appreciate your support.
Please let me know if you have other ideas that will help me reach our goal of 10,000 families agreeing to take the Challenge between now and the end of September.
It’s not the solution to everything that ails us, but I think it’s a great place to start.
About the author: Aviva Goldfarb is the founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning solution for busy parents, author of the acclaimed Six O'Clock Scramble cookbooks, and weekly contributor to PBS Parents.org's Kitchen Explorers.
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