NDSU Extension - Benson County


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The Benefits of Eating as a Family

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

If you have yet to figure out your New Year’s resolution, consider adding more family meal times to the list.  According to a study from Cornell University, children who share meals with their families are 35% less likely to engage in disordered eating, 24% more likely to healthier food, and 12% less likely to be overweight. 


Additionally, families that eat at home together are show to have children with greater academic achievement, improved psychological well-being, and have positive family interactions. 


These numbers and facts prove wonderful things for those families that regularly eat at home, and hopefully encourage everyone else to choose meals at home more often.  With everyone’s busy schedule, you may be wondering how many meals at home allows for the benefits that we are all looking for?  The study concluded that 3 or more means at home each week would be most beneficial.  If this seems like a stretch, try adding just one more family meal each week, and hopefully you will start to see the benefits.


If family mealtime is not currently a priority, set a goal as a family.  Family meal times may be difficult to fit into our busy lives, but it is important for a family’s health and well-being to eat together as often as possible. 


Here is a recipe for cranberry pumpkin muffins.  These muffins would make a perfect addition to any family meal, and also make a great snack.  If you are feeling ambitious, make a double batch a freeze a few for a future family meal.  Enjoy!


Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg, large
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin (canned)
  • 2 cups cranberries, chopped (fresh or frozen)

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients (flour through allspice) and set aside.  Beat oil, eggs, and pumpkin together until well blended.  Add the wet ingredients (pumpkin mixture) to the dry ingredients all at once. Stir until moistened.  Fold in chopped cranberries.  Spoon into paper lined muffin cups.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes.

Makes: 12 servings.  Each serving contains 200 calories, 1 gram of fat, 230 mg of sodium, 32 carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. 



  • University of Massachusetts, Extension Nutrition Education Program, Pumpkin Post/Banana Beat
  • Cornell University, Parenting In Context: Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference? 2012.
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