The Surprising Power of Family Meals

How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier

Written by Miriam Weinstein
On sale Sep 5th, 2006
USD 17.00
CAD 17.00
Family & Relationships - Parenting - General
About This Book
The Surprising Power of Family Meals is the first book to take a complete look at a ritual that was virtually universal a generation ago but has undergone a striking transformation. No longer honored by society as a time of day that must be set aside, some families see family supper as little more than a quaint relic. But others are beginning to recognize it as a lifeline – a way to connect with their loved ones on a regular basis and to get more enjoyment out of family life. The Surprising Power of Family Meals presents stories, studies, and arguments from the fields of psychology, education, nutrition, family therapy, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and religion. It provides examples of families and communities around North America responding creatively to the pressures of a 24/7 world to share strategies for taking what is best from our past and transforming it to meet current needs.
Miriam Weinstein is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. As a journalist, she has won several awards from the New England Press Association. Her work has appeared in Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe magazine, Hope, and ParentSource. She has written extensively for the on-line magazines Jewish Family & Life! as well as for A former staff member for North Shore Weeklies and freelancer for Essex County Newspapers, she writes restaurant reviews and food columns as well as features on a wide variety of subjects. Her previous books include Yiddish: A Nation of Words and Prophets & Dreamers: A Selection of Great Yiddish Literature. She lives in Manchester, Massachusetts, with her husband and has two grown children.

"There's a lot more to family dinners than meets the eye. They have 'the power of ritual,' giving parents and kids the chance to connect, adding a sense of security to the daily routine. They're an opportunity for parents to teach about family history and traditions, so that they give kids a sense of identity. Even dysfunctional families seem to work just a little bit better when they make the time to eat dinner together. The point is, family meals aren't just about food. As Weinstein puts it, 'Supper is about nourishment of all kinds.' That includes physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual nourishment." —


"Weinstein does not look through rose-colored glasses. She acknowledges that single-parent households, dual-income families, extracurricular activities and peer pressure promote skipped meals and dashboard dining. She offers strategies for bringing back this simple but highly effective communion." The Plain Dealer


"Children who grow up with a strong sense of family are likely to become solid, healthy adults. Sitting down together for supper - or any other occasion - is essential to family, and its importance cannot be overestimated." Washington Post


"Having regular family meals can eliminate teen eating disorders; improve children's grades; reduce the incidence of drug abuse, teen pregnancy and smoking; and even expand toddlers' vocabularly.... Weinstein's case studies are stimulating, and her writing style is persuasive enough to convince readers to make a point of enjoying an evening meal with their families." Publishers Weekly


"Thoughtful, meticulously researched...Weinstein offers small steps families can take to reinstitute this basic tradition." Newsday


"Weinstein researched the benefits of the family supper and concluded that the practice cements relationships. The immediate goal is for your family to walk away from the table feeling pleasure.... The family dinner is bonding and opens the lines of communication." Dallas Morning News