5 Reasons Families Should Make More Effort to Eat Together (and a Recipe To get it Started)

Photo courtesy of Chef Big Shake

The image of the family meal, where everyone is gathered around the table eating and chatting, is one that we as a society love. Yet the reality is that it's not something that most families are engaging in anymore. The American College of Pediatrics reports that family mealtimes spent together declined 30% in the last three decades, and one-third of families with 11-18-year-olds only eat one or two meals a week together. This decline in family mealtime raises concerns because everyone benefits when the family eats together.

“There’s something very special about families eating together. It’s something that we as a society can’t lose,” explains Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake, owner of Big Shake’s restaurants. “I invite everyone to start making it a priority, so our families benefit, which then helps society benefit.”

Inflation is increasing what a grocery shopping trip costs, leading many people to look for ways to save money. Some of the things that can be done to help keep costs lower include planning the week’s meals ahead of time, using what is on sale each week to plan the meals around, making a grocery list and sticking to it, switching to a more affordable store, comparing brands and cost per unit, and using an instant rebate app.

Once people are aware of how important the family meal together is to the health and development of their children, the more likely they are to make it a higher priority. Here are 5 reasons families should make more effort to eat some family meals together:

According to the American College of Pediatrics, family meals allow parents to impart values and traditions, as well as demonstrate appropriate relationships, communication techniques, and problem-solving skills. 

Family meals help to provide structure, which makes children feel more secure. It also allows parents to connect with the kids to gauge their mood and discuss things going on in their lives.

According to research published in the journal Canadian Family Physician, eating frequent family meals is associated with better psychosocial outcomes for children and adolescents. Regular family meals increased self-esteem and commitment to learning or a higher grade point average.

Children who eat family meals with their parents tend to be healthier. Research published in the April 2022 journal of Appetite found that a parent’s fruit and vegetable intake and creating a positive mealtime atmosphere were the strongest predictors for children’s higher nutritional quality. They conclude that parental modeling and a positive mealtime atmosphere were most predictive of healthier child nutrition in daily family meal settings.

Children who eat more family meals together tend to have less obesity because they develop better eating habits, eat more fruits and vegetables, and are less likely to engage in disordered eating. Teens also tend to have a more positive body image.

“Kids grow up quickly. It’s important that we get in as many family meals together as we can as they grow up,” added Davis. “Even if you can’t do family meals each day, do as many per week as you can. It will be well worth the effort that is put in.”

Many families skip family meals together because they have busy schedules. To help get around this, opt for bringing home takeout once in a while that everyone can sit down to eat together. Also, plan to make some simple meals on busy days. Keeping things simple can still provide a great family experience that offers benefits. 

Recipe: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Spaghetti and meat sauce Cost $ 6.49

1lb Ground beef $3.95 per lb.

1lb Spaghetti noodles $.99 per lb.

1 24 oz jar of your favorite Spaghetti sauce $1.55


Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat. Add ground beef to the pan, and cook until brown. In a separate pot boil 4 cups of water and add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water for seasoning. Boil noodles until they are al dente, usually 5-7 minutes. Drain the noodles and add them to the cooked ground beef and mix. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the marinara sauce. Let the spaghetti and ground beef simmer together for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then serve.

Big Shake’s offers Nashville hot chicken meal kits shipped to the home and comes with simple re-heat instructions. They also provide a variety of additional merchandise, including red dust fish fry, shrimp burgers, coffee mugs, popcorn, sweet cornbread mix, seasoning salts, bottled hot sauces, and more. It also offers an ultimate gift box to send to someone who loves hot chicken. It also offers a variety of clothing items, including sneakers, shirts, and backpacks.

Big Shake's currently has four locations in Franklin, Tenn., Columbia, Tenn., Huntsville, Ala., and Madison, Ala. Additional locations in Nashville and Tuscaloosa are underway. Chef Big Shake became famous for his signature shrimp burgers, which were featured on the hit show “Shark Tank.” His chain has sold hundreds of thousands of them. The restaurant has also become famous for its hot chicken plates, chicken sandwiches, hot chicken and waffles, hot chicken tacos, and more. It also features a variety of fish entrees, including whiting and catfish. Diners can choose their level of heat, ranging from “cry baby” to “executioner.”                                                                                                                             

To learn more about Chef Big Shake's online store or place an order for national delivery, visit the site at: To learn more about Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish, visit the site:

Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake, owner of Big Shake’s restaurants

Cher Murphy

Cher Murphy, owner of Cher Murphy PR, brings with her a wealth of experience in covering a variety of interesting fields. As an expert in public relations, she works with clients in some of the most popular sectors, including health and wellness, education, restaurants, travel, and entertainment. With a nose for news and a gift of professional presentation, she is able to deliver high quality, ent...(Read More)

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