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Dining In for FCS Day

November 26, 2018


Mindy McCulley, Extension Specialist for Instructional Support, University of Kentucky


Dr. Heather Norman-Burgdolf, Assistant Extension Professor and Specialist in Food and Nutrition

Sally Mineer, Extension Specialist for Professional Development

Special Episode: Dining In for FCS Day

0:00 Welcome to Talking FACS; what you need to know about family, food, finance and fitness. Hosted by the University of Kentucky Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Program, our educators share research knowledge with individuals, families and communities to improve quality of life.

0:20 Mindy: Welcome back to this special edition of talking FACS. I'm your host, Mindy McCulley, Extension Specialist for Instructional Support at the University of Kentucky. And I'm joined today with Dr. Heather Norman-Bergdolf, who is Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition and Sally Mineer, who is our Extension Specialist for Professional Development.

We're going to be talking today about an event that's coming up in December. It's FCS Day and we're going to encourage people to dine with us on FCS Day. So, Heather, tell me just a little bit about what this event means to you.

0:57 Heather: Yeah. So, FCS Day is always on December 3rd, which Sally, I think, is going to share a little bit about in a minute. But I really want to talk to you before we get started about the benefits of dining in with your family, with your friends, maybe it's with your dog; just eating at home is going to be the focus of what we're talking about.

And so, we know that there are a lot of benefits to dining in. Some of those you may have heard are saving money or promoting family bonding and communication. And actually, it can save time; some people might not agree with me, but if we really look at it, it might actually save your family time.

But what I really want to focus on today is how dining in may be a healthier option than choosing to run out the door to get fast food or to take your whole family out to sit down at a restaurant.

And so, just three health benefits of dining in that I want to touch on today is being in control of your ingredients that you're eating with in your food, being in control of your portion size as well as, and this might not seem as straightforward, but really being in control of the environment around you as you are eating your food.

So, first just real quick; on control of your ingredients. There's actually some recent studies out there that show individuals who prepare more meals at home are more likely to be at a healthier body weight.

And so, this study actually showed that people who prepared three or fewer meals at home each week were more likely to be at a higher body weight than individuals who prepared five or more different meals at home each week. So, really you can see there's only a difference of a couple meals there that really makes a big difference.

And we also know that people whochoose to dine in are much more likely to consume more fruits and vegetables. And when they do that, they're naturally going to be kind of reducing the amount of unhealthy fat and sodium and sugar that's commonly found in a lot of commercially available foods.

So, that's just something to keep in mind; really there is a difference in the food that people are eating, depending on whether they're dining and or dining out.

3:01 Mindy: It also gives them the opportunity to help people eat things that they want to eat, not necessarily just what's right there in front of you, but you can let your family be involved in planning those meals.

3:12 Heather: Absolutely, especially getting kids involved. A lot of the barriers with dining and tend to be with kids. You know, they won't eat it or it's a lot of work; get them involved. Let them be a part of the process and they're much more likely to try the meal.

3:22 Mindy: And they can also help to be part of the process of preparing; right?

3:26 Heather: We can definitely introduce chores.

3:29 Mindy: Right.

3:30 Heather: Helping to clean up. We just had a podcast on chores that I saw. So, yeah, this kind of ties around with that.

And then also, the next thing is being in control of our portion sizes. So, restaurants are notorious for this. And it just seems over time, portions are getting larger and larger and larger and we don't even realize it. Larger dishes and cups and unlimited quantities, the bread basket, refills and buffets, and tortilla chips. All those things really cause us to consume more than we actually need to.

So, when we're at home, we're in much more control of that; putting proper portions in servings on the plate, especially with our kids, they don't need to eat the same amount that an adult does. Their portions need to be a little smaller. So, you can be in more control of that as well.

So, just keeping that in mind that restaurants, there are a lot of things that distort what a portion size looks like and we don't realize it.

And then the last thing that I just want to briefly mention is the environment in which we eat our food. So, we're much more in control of our environment if we're at home. Some restaurants are loud and distracting; you've got people coming to the table. Or maybe you're in the fast food Drive-Through line and you're feeling pressured to make your choice. You can't really think about the helpfulness of the food that you're choosing.

But when we're at home that all can go away; you are in control of those things. So, turning off the TV, putting all cell phones to the side; really it’s just a slower pace with more conversation.

4:53 Mindy: So, Sally, tell us a little bit about FCS Day. And now that we know why dining in is so important, what should we do on that day?

5:02 Sally: Okay. So, dining in was with the AAFCS and you can go on their website and find a lot of resources for this day. It was selected on December 3rd to honor the founder of FCS profession, which was Ellen Richards.

This event started back in 2014 and since that time, we've had over 4000 people to commit that on December the 3rd, they would commit to dining in.

5:36 Mindy: That's a lot of people.

5:37 Sally: That is.

5:37 Mindy: Especially when you think about that's their family, not just them.

5:39 Sally: Exactly. So, this year we are really trying to promote that here in the state of Kentucky. That you go on that website and you will find several times, from the home page all the way if you go down and look for the initiative, that it's very easy to commit to dining in.

And once you do that, it’s just going to ask for your name, it’s going to ask for if you're doing it as an individual. So, if I was doing it for myself and some friends that I was going to have over for dinner or if I'm going to do it with a group.

The group can be any social group that you might be in, it could be a Sunday School Class, it could be a homemaker group, it can be your children's groups; perhaps a classroom. You could even do it with them if you'd want to. So, you can select on there the number of people that you are committing for.

And as you scroll down, it just asks for some simple questions. They do like to know like the zip codes so they if they can see all across the United States, where we are at and who is receiving the word about committing to dining in.

What they do then is kind of look at that over, at the end of this year, they can look at maybe see a portion of the United States that no one committed to and that we really need to reach out and educate and be more in tune with maybe why no one in that area be committing to that dining in.

They will not contact you at the end of this.  So, there's no reason to fear that if you do commit, that you're going to be on a list and get phone calls. There's none of that. It is really just to see that we are in the FCS profession, educating people about eating in.

And so, it's all of the things that you just heard from Heather on the reasons. And that is why that AAFCS started this was because of the obesity rate across the United States. And they saw that as a need for the FCS profession to step up and educate people on how can we stop this and how can we help.

So, it's already been mentioned, but once you commit to the dining in and you are doing that, just remind everyone as it was mentioned, put your cell phones away, put your iPad away. For kids, it's all about the learning process and so, once you come to the dinner table that the TV is turned off; electronic devices.

And those are just so, you know, they're coming out with new things all the time that can be hand-held. And so, it’s maybe very hard for you to think about sitting at the table with your children and then that they're not having something.

But I also think that it's interesting that if you're at home, maybe your child could be a little bit louder or maybe not sitting still, whereas in a restaurant, what do people do? They tend to reach for their phone or an electronic device to try to get them to be entertained and be quiet. So, at home, you know, that would not have to be something you would have to do.

8:45 Mindy: I think these are all great reasons for dining in and of course, we do want to support FCS Day. And I don't know about you all, but I'm hungry. You all made me hungry after this conversation. So, I think that we just need to make sure we all go and commit to dining in.

9:01 Heather: Sounds good.

9:03 Sally: Thanks.

9:04 Mindy: Alright, thank you all.

9:06 Thank you for listening to Talking FACS. We deliver programs focusing on nutrition, health, resource management, family development and civic engagement. If you enjoy today's podcast, have a question or a show topic idea, leave a ‘Like’ and comment on Facebook @UKFCSExt. Visit us online at or contact your local extension agent for Family and Consumer Sciences. We build strong families. It starts with us.