Family meals at home can influence teens, eating behaviors, by providing wholesome foods, by parents, modeling of healthful food choices, and by providing a social context for eating as a time of family togetherness and communication. However, multiple forces have eroded the traditional family dinner. The television intrudes, limiting talking and interpersonal relating. Working mothers and single parent families with too little time to cook often rely on convenient or fast foods that have been prepared outside the home.
Families can easily overcome the barriers to the family meal by designating certain nights as family nights, turning off the television, not taking phone calls during meals, and making a concerted effort to create the eating experience that was taken for granted in the past.