‘We want to bring back the Sunday dinner’: Sunday Dinner Pledge

WATCH ABOVE: There’s a campaign underway to get families to sit down together for regular meals. Minna Rhee reports.

TORONTO — Family dinners seem to be the decline in North America and a new campaign hopes to change that.

According to a recent survey of North Americans:

  • More than 25% of people who live with family admit to not sitting down at the dinner table together often enough
  • Of those lucky enough to live near senior loved ones, 50% agree they don’t have dinner with them often enough
  • Nearly 75% only sit down with senior relatives for special occasions, events or holidays

To help combat the trend, Home Instead Senior Care has partnered up with Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian to encourage people to take the Sunday Dinner Pledge.

“We want to bring back the Sunday dinner. We want people to commit to sitting down — one day a week, just once a week even — with their families to have dinner,” the mother-of-four said.

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She added that in addition to the social and emotional benefits of connecting as a family over dinner, mealtime can be especially important for seniors. It’s vital to their healthy aging, she stressed, since it’s tied to nutrition, medication management and helps prevent feelings of isolation that can be common among seniors.

READ MORE: What’s worse for seniors – loneliness or obesity

The main culprit that keeps many from enjoying family dinner together is time. To help overcome that, d’Arabian suggested to start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.

“People think we need to do something perfectly in order to do it at all,” she said.

“Push comes to shove, if you have to choose between the food on the dinner table and the people around it, I would choose the people around the dinner table.”

“So if that means stopping by the grocery story and picking up a rotisserie chicken and serving it with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad or vegetable…sit down with that meal and enjoy it around the table.”

Having said that, she also wants people to know how easy it can be to whip up a quick, tasty, nutritious and affordable meal — sometimes in as little as 15 minutes.

READ MORE: 4 tips to eat well on $4 a day

To get you started, there are some Sunday Dinner recipe ideas and tips for meal planning on the site.

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You can also find plenty of recipes on our Pinterest page.

WATCH: A series of online videos may soon be able to help seniors with their nutrition. Su-Ling Goh explains.

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