West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee is celebrating National Family Meals Month with a number of promotions and events.

Created by the Food Marketing Institute, National Family Meals Month is an industry-inspired movement to raise consumer awareness of the health and societal benefits of sharing frequent family meals.

"In today’s ever-evolving and fast-paced world, it’s often difficult for families to find time to sit down and enjoy a meal together due to busy schedules,” says Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president. “We believe family time is critical and Hy-Vee is committed to bringing families together by making mealtime easier.”

Throughout the month, at all Hy-Vee Market Grille and Market Grille Express restaurants, children ages 12 and younger eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. The company will also offer daily family-friendly recipes featuring simply ingredients, which will be shared on Hy-Vee's social media platforms. In addition, weekly meal ideas with highlight grab-and-go dinner options to make dinnertime easier.

Additionally, every day in the month of September at four locations — Waukee, Iowa; Overland Park, Kansas; Brooklyn Park, Minnesota; and Omaha, Nebraska — Hy-Vee will provide a complimentary one-hour family meal at a dining table inside the store, where shoppers will be able to observe the family eating together and learn more about the benefits of family mealtime.

Consumers can sign up online for a chance to participate in the meal, which also includes a $250 Hy-Vee gift card.

Research shows that children who share regular family meals typically display better grades, improved nutrition, stronger family relationships and higher self-esteem, and they are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.

“Recent research says that more than three-quarters of families report that conflicting schedules are the main barrier to eating together on a regular basis,” Edeker says. “That’s why Hy-Vee is providing tips and resources to give families easy, mealtime solutions so they can have at least one more family meal together each week.”