The Family Dinner Project Podcast

Serving up real talk about the messy business of family meals.

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  • 3. Family Dinner During May Madness

    In Episode 3, "Family Dinner During May Madness," we're talking about one of the busiest times of year - the end of the school year, when family calendars overflow and dinner is the last thing on anyone's mind. Bri and Dr. Fishel chat about some of the concerns with overscheduling, as well as the benefits of allowing kids to explore extracurricular activities and interests, and how this time of year can be an opportunity to look at family time differently.They also discuss the pressure to do it all and be a perfect parent, and how to start pushing back against the increasing overwhelm, including smart conversation starters to help everyone in the family gauge how they're doing with managing stress. And of course, they share practical tips and ideas to help families get a "family dinner" experience on the busiest nights, whether that's sharing food, fun, and conversation at the local ice cream shop; splitting dinner up into shifts; sharing a snack at a more opportune time of day; or scheduling a family meal in advance so everyone can plan for it.The episode wraps up with food (make-ahead and freezer friendly meals), fun (a photo caption contest on the go), and conversation ideas (If you were free to do anything you wanted tomorrow, what would you do?).

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  • 2. Is it the Family, or the Dinner?

    In Episode 2, "Is it the Family, or the Dinner?" we dive into one of the trickiest topics in family dinner research: How to tell whether it's really eating together that offers a variety of physical, mental, social, and academic benefits, or whether it just so happens that families who eat together already practice healthy habits. Dr. Fishel outlines the various types of research that have been done on this topic over the past two and a half decades, and covers the scientific methods that back up the results. Together, she and Bri talk through how researchers in different countries, controlling for different factors, have all come to similar conclusions over time -- that eating meals together does benefit families, independent of anything else parents may do.Dr. Fishel covers some of the main benefits of family dinners, as well as discussing multiple studies in the field of family meal research. Some of the specific research she mentions can be accessed in more detail:A large cross-sectional study showing association between family dinners and reduced high-risk behaviors in teens, that controls for characteristics of the family like being organized and connected. Longitudinal study looking at the quality of the family dinner atmosphere to predict physical and mental health benefits from age 6 to age 10. Randomized study looking at impact of distraction on healthy food consumption and another study on impact of spending extra minutes at the table on eating more fruits and vegetables.A recent study that looks at the impact of frequency and quality of family dinner on kids and adults.The episode wraps with food (Build Your Own meals), fun (20 Questions About a Family Memory), and conversation (Tell me something about yourself you think I might not know).
  • 1. Home For the Holidays?

    On the first episode of The Family Dinner Project Podcast, Bri DeRosa and Dr. Anne Fishel dig into the tricky question of what to do when gathering with family for the holidays feels complicated. Will there be tension at the dinner table? Political or ideological differences that make it hard to stay merry? Does it even feel safe to go home for the holidays? Dr. Fishel shares strategies and advice from her decades of experience in family therapy. From neutralizing tension with smart ideas for games and conversation starters that distract from differences, to offering wisdom and solace for families who are dealing with estrangement this holiday season, she offers plenty of ways to make the holidays work for you, no matter what your family dynamics look like. She and Bri also delve into pop culture with a discussion of the viral Christmas dinner episode of Hulu's "The Bear." (No wonder Carmy didn't want to go home for the holidays!) They wrap up the conversation with their recommendations for holiday food (latkes), fun (a holiday dinner scavenger hunt), and conversation (Who do you wish could join us for the holidays, who isn't present this year?). Whether you're looking forward to a family holiday celebration this year, or just trying to survive a complicated season, The Family Dinner Project Podcast has ideas you can use.