Join other families across the country as they “Dine In” on Dec. 3rd in celebration of Family and Consumer Sciences Day and home prepared meals.

Families that eat together at home not only eat better but they eat more vegetables, enjoy more family conversations, and reduce the risk of substance abuse in teens.  To encourage more family meals, Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS), a part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County, joins with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) in promoting “Dining In for Healthy Families."

FCHS encourages families to take the pledge to eat together on Dec. 3rd at aafcs.org/fcsday and get links to social media.  Families will find more tips on Get Moving Get Healthy NJ with FCHS Face Book.

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“Families that eat together share more than food,” said Daryl Minch, FCHS Educator for Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Somerset County.

“They talk to each other, share experiences and values.  Research shows that family meals are protective against depressive symptoms in youth and may reduce drug and alcohol use in teens.  It also increases communication and can strengthen family relationships.”

Family meals can be simple – veggies, baked chicken breasts with tomato sauce, and rice and beans.  Children who help prepare the meal are also more likely to eat it.  Ask everyone to put away their cellphones and other devices during the meal.  For more information on FCHS programs including cooking ideas, visithttp://somerset. njaes.rutgers.edu.