The Family Dinner Challenge
“I believe in the power of family dinners. Join the movement for healthier families #DinnerChallenge
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Aviva Goldfarb
As the mother of two very active teenagers with formerly picky palates, I know what a challenge it can be to get healthy homemade dinners on the table that everyone will eat, and at a reasonable hour of the night. And as the founder of the dinner planning service, The Six O’Clock Scramble (, I have learned not only how to serve up healthy meals for my own family (well, at least most nights…), but also help thousands of busy families make nightly dinners a reality.

Like many busy parents, I initially struggled to put a nutritious dinner on the table for my family amidst the chaos of daily life. Recalling my own mom’s simple weekly meal planning strategy, I developed a system that helps parents take the “Scramble” out of the dinner hour by giving them an easy, online meal planning and grocery shopping system, along with fail-proof family-friendly recipes.

My family dinner cookbooks, The Six O’Clock Scramble and SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue (St. Martin’s Press) debuted in 2006 and 2010. Both the cookbooks and online meal planning service have won praise from reviewers at O Magazine, Working Mother, USA Today, Real Simple, The Washington Post, and many others.

Over the years, I have grown increasingly concerned with how to reduce our environmental impact while still enjoying the foods we love. We buy much of our food locally at farmer’s markets, we have reduced the amount of meat we eat, and the amount of food we waste, started composting, and each day, we pack our kids waste-free (or at least low-waste) lunches. I work these family- and eco-friendly practices into the Scramble’s recipes and seasonal meal plans.

Working with food and health, I also care deeply about hunger and nutrition, especially for children. I have been active in school lunch reform here in my home state of Maryland and often contribute to events and campaigns by great organizations such as Share Our Strength.

But at the end of the day, my greatest joy comes from the daily, simple pleasures of my own family table. My son Solomon recently said, “Mom, thank you so much for making us a delicious dinner every night.” That definitely makes the extra effort well worth it!
The Family Dinner Challenge

Why is family dinner so important?

60 Years Ago, the average dinnertime was 90 minutes. Today it is less than 12 minutes.

Kids and teens who share family dinners 3 or more times per week:

  • Are less likely to be overweight
  • Are more likely to eat healthy foods
  • Perform better academically
  • Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)
  • Have better relationships with their parents

And "More frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors towards others and higher life satisfaction, "Journal of Adolescent Health" April 2012.

Make the commitment to your family’s health…

…today, and take the Family Dinner Challenge! All you have to do is commit to sitting down to dinner with your family at least 3 times a week for 4 weeks. I’ll give you everything you need to make it happen with very little effort and stress. It’s that simple…and that important.

We parents are busier than we’ve ever been before. But we hunger for more of a connection with our families, and we want to eat healthier, too. We are running in so many directions that eating dinner together often becomes an afterthought. In fact, a recent poll found that half of children now live in homes where families don’t regularly eat dinner together.

So how do we make family dinners a reality in our homes?

I have found that the key to making family dinners a reality is to plan a few meals in advance and grocery shop once a week with a list.

I’m Aviva Goldfarb, mother of two, cookbook author, family dinner advocate, and founder of the family meal planning site, The Six O’Clock Scramble. When I first had kids, I wanted to make healthy family dinners a priority but I found the whole process daunting and stressful. After lots of trial and error (and some tearful consults with my mom), I developed a simple system to make it unbelievably easy for busy parents to get homemade dinners on the table, even if they work outside the home at intense jobs and their kids have lots of after school activities.

For most families, dinnertime is when parents and kids can all be in the same room at the same time. In my family dinnertime is often the ONLY time we can disconnect from technology and connect with each other around real conversations.

But how can we get more families to eat dinner together?  What if we all make a commitment to ourselves and each other to make family dinners a priority for just one month?

Join thousands of other families to make a difference – one family dinner at a time.

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