Home for Dinner

Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids

 Home for Dinner

Author: Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D.
Pub Date: January 2015
Print Edition: $16.00
Print ISBN: 9780814433706
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814433713

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Extending the Dinner Table to the Wide World

A universal necessity for life, food is the ultimate connector—to our environment and to our fellow human beings. In her new book, HOME FOR DINNER (AMACOM; 2015), Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., cofounder of the Family Dinner Project and mom, offers the following suggestions to help parents turn the dinner table into a classroom for global citizenship and a jumping off point for making difference in the world:

Use dinner as a passport to cultural experiences. Contact the principal at your children’s school to find out if there are new students from abroad who might enjoy having dinner with your family. Over dinner, ask your international guests about their country’s food customs and their own family dinner rituals.

Make connections to food justice. For starters, educate your children about why wasting food is harmful to our planet. A few facts for kids to chew on: a family of four wastes roughly the equivalent of $2,000 a year on food that gets thrown out. Think how far that money could go toward feeding the children in America—more than one in six—who are hungry.

Prevent food waste at home. Reduce portion sizes and waste by switching to smaller dinner plates. Critically assess the “use by” dates on food labels, which do not usually pertain to the safety of food and are not regulated by any government agency. Get kids involved in creating interesting meals from leftovers.

Cultivate a gardening activist. Through hands-on gardening, kids form a strong connection to fresh, healthy food. Let your children choose what to plant, making sure to include trusty winners in the options. Encourage digging. Welcome kids to water the garden with hoses, spray guns, and other fun waterworks.

Teach kids to compost. Composting—a cheap, natural way to get something from nothing—is an easy job to assign to a child. It’s basically just dumping food scraps into a pile, where they’ll be transformed into nutrient-rich garden fertilizer.

Eat lower on the food chain. If Americans eliminated as little as a one-quarter pound serving of beef per week, the National Resources Defense Council estimates, the reduction in global warming gas emission would be the equivalent of taking four to six million cars off the road. Not only better for the environment, eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables is better for your kids’ health.

Cook for a cause. You can cook your way to making a difference. Work with your kids to host a bake sale or create portable dinner parties to raise awareness and money for a charity.

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Adapted from HOME FOR DINNER: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids by Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D. (AMACOM 2015; 978-0-8144-3370-6).

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