- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: American Management Association; Special ed. edition (January 7, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814433707
- ISBN-13: 978-0814433706
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids Paperback – Special Edition, January 7, 2015
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"In this wonderful new book, Home for Dinner, Anne Fishel, PhD makes a compelling case for us to reconsider our priorities and put mealtime back at the center of our family life....Her book includes recipes for quick, healthy, tasty meals as well as advice on inspiring picky eaters to explore new foods." Work and Family Life
"I recommend this book to mothers and fathers or grandparents who are looking for ways to make a stronger connection amongst the family. It's also a good book for those adults who did not have family dinners with their families as kids or teenagers. These adults may not believe in the power of the family dinner, and this book will help put them on a journey of discovery." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"... shares accounts of healing, bonding, and communication when families gather together over a meal...author goes beyond and demonstrates solid tools and encouragement for implementation. Recommended with gusto." Library Journal
Sports, activities, long hours, and commutes—with so much to do, dinner has been bumped to the back burner.
But research shows that family dinners offer more than just nutrition. Studies have tied shared meals to increased resiliency and self-esteem in children, higher academic achievement, a healthier relationship to food, and even reduced risk of substance abuse and eating disorders.
Written by a Harvard Medical School professor and mother, Home for Dinner makes a passionate and informed plea to put mealtime back at the center of family life and supplies compelling evidence and realistic tips for getting even the busiest of families back to the table. Chock full of stories, new research, recipes, and friendly advice, the book explains how to:
Whip up quick, healthy, and tasty dinners • Get kids to lend a hand (without any grief) • Adapt meals to the needs of everyone—from toddlers to teens • Inspire picky eaters to explore new foods • Keep dinnertime conversation stimulating • Add an element of fun • Reduce tension at the table • Explore other cultures and spark curiosity about the world • And more
Mealtime is a place to unwind and reconnect, far from the pressures of school and work. As the author notes, family therapy can be helpful, but regular dinner is transformative.
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But Fishel is also aware of the studies that tie “shared meals to increased resiliency and self-esteem in children, higher academic achievement, a healthier relationship to food, and even reduced risk of substance abuse and eating disorders.” With all of these benefits, connected to one simple activity, how can parents not make it a priority? The trouble is figuring out how to make it work.
Home for Dinner provides the blueprint. Certainly there are recipes for easy dinners in the book. But Fishel recognizes that the food is sometimes the least important part of a family meal. So she gives tips for conversation starters, ideas for making mealtime less stressful, and other suggestions to get the whole family on board with the concept.
Fishel doesn’t talk down to parents or scold them for not doing well enough; instead she gives them helpful support to make meaningful changes to daily family life. I highly recommend Home for Dinner for any parent who struggles to put healthy food on the table night after night.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Fishel is a Ph.D. psychologist, professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Family Dinner Project, among many other acomplishments. She's the mother of two young adult sons, so she's aware of the challenges facing anyone who wants to round up family members for dinner together.
The book is replete with stories of people who want to do something about the fragmented world of smart phones, social media (I often think of it as "anti-social" media!), ballet lessons and soccer matches, long hours at work and long commutes and have family dinners. It's the kind of challenge Amy Chua's "Tiger Mother" would be hard pressed to achieve.
The stories in Fishel's book should appeal to readers who have their own memories -- good or bad -- about family dinners. I personally have few such memories, because in our house when I was growing up in the late 1940s and early 1950s, I don't recall any family dinners! With my mother, divorced and working hard to keep the family together in a series of low-paying factory jobs, if you wanted to eat, she pointed to the kitchen.
Fishel provides many recipes and advice about making food interesting -- in an era when food is often viewed as generic fuel to keep overbooked people going. With so much to do, she writes, dinner has been bumped to the back burner. Fishel says that research shows that family dinners offer more than just nutrition. Studies have tied shared meals to increased resiliency and self-esteem in children, higher academic achievement, a healthier relationship to food, and even reduced risk of substance abuse and eating disorders.
"Home for Dinner" makes a passionate and informed plea to put mealtime back at the center of family life and supplies compelling evidence and realistic tips for getting even the busiest of families back to the table.
The book explains how to:
* Create quick, healthy, and tasty dinners;
* get kids to lend a hand (without any grief);
* adapt meals to the needs of everyone - from toddlers to teens;
* inspire picky eaters to explore new foods;
* keep dinnertime conversation stimulating;
* add an element of fun; reduce tension at the table;
* explore other cultures and spark curiosity about the world.
Mealtime should be a place to unwind and reconnect, far from the pressures of school and work, Fishel writes. As the author notes, family therapy can be helpful, but regular dinner is transformative.
For one thing, you'll have to curb technology at the table, she says on Page 109, writing that "a 2011 survey found that there are two sets of standards at the dinner table. Parents use technology at the table at twice the rate their children are allowed". What's good for the goose, she says, isn't so good for the gosling! She suggests the best solution might be a total ban of technology, i.e. phones, at the table...Similar to the pleas in movie theaters about phones.
"Home for Dinner" is a provocative book, a book of family dinner advocacy that should be read by everyone concerned about the state of the family in a world where people are trying to do too much.
Soon afterwards, I read Dr. Fishel's book, and immediately gifted several copies to my friends. While most of this group has kids, not all of us do. I especially liked how Dr. Fishel defined "family dinners": "I think of family [dinners] as any group that feels like home: a neighborhood that gathers around a backyard clay oven to make pizzas, a gathering of friends at college, young adults living with friends who are part of their chosen family, or a community dinner at a school, church hall, or diner."
Dr. Fishel makes the case for the far-reaching benefits of regular family dinners. The book, however, is as much about getting in a good frame of mind for anyone who wants to try regular family dinners. It takes a warm, low pressure, highly encouraging, even nurturing approach. As opposed to a home-entertaining-made-easy book, this one puts the people at the table ahead of the food. There are great suggestions for how to open and deepen table conversation, and promote story-telling, including with small kids and even adolescents.
Dr. Fishel sets a cozy scene of relaxing and connecting with family around the dinner table, and makes this an attainable goal for busy people, not a luxury reserved for those with lots of leisure time. The book is chock full of tips for how to create communal dinners in your own home. Food, is, of course, more than accounted for, and easy, fun recipes are sprinkled throughout the book.
If you're considering buying this book, you're probably already primed to benefit from it, since attitude is so important to Dr. Fishel's "Family Dinner Project." It only takes one person in a family to read this book for all to benefit.