ARLINGTON, VA. - Just in time for September’s National Family Meals Month, the FMI Foundation has released the results of a new study that shows families are using family meals to stay strong physically and emotionally during the pandemic. 

The new survey consisted of a national sample of more than 1,000 American adults and was conducted Aug. 14-17. The findings closely mirrored result from a comprehensive study published by The Journal of Nutrition and Education and Behavior earlier this year. Findings from FMI’s survey included: 

  • The definition of “family” is constantly evolving. Currently, 77% of those surveyed cohabitate, which means they are sharing meals with significant others, children, other adult family members, friends and roommates. 

  • Americans are cooking more and having more family meals. Ninety-four percent say they are cooking the same amount or more than before the pandemic, and three-quarters of Americans report they are having the same amount or more family meals – both in-person and virtually. 

  • Seventy-one percent of people who have been eating more in-person meals (and 70% having more virtual meals) agree that "I feel more connected to my family since the pandemic has started." 

  • Seventy-eight percent have positive sentiments about family meals such as: “they are a high point of my day,” or “they help to make me feel calm” or “they are an important part of my household’s regular routine.”   

  • More than one-third recognize that they eat better and 40% say that the food they eat is more balanced or healthier than the food they eat when alone.   

“We have long known that family meals have a tremendously positive impact,” said David Fikes, executive director of the FMI Foundation. “Whatever our new normal will be, we need to stay physically and emotionally fit, and family meals help with both. Clearly, family meals are the foundation for a healthy nation.”