*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Americans may love fast food, but it turns out more people are finally slowing down and enjoying their family meals. Dinnertime now lasts 15 minutes longer in the typical American household than it did before the pandemic began, according to a recent study of 2,004 people. Overall, the average family meal has gone from 70 minutes to 85 minutes now — nearly a 20 percent increase in length overall.
In the survey, conducted by OnePoll, researchers found that families are coming together for meals five times a week, compared to four times a week pre-pandemic. Those mealtimes are becoming more important, with 58 percent believing it is now the most relaxing part of their day. In fact, more Millennials (ages 25-40) agree with this in comparison to just 36 percent of Baby Boomers (age 57+).
Moreover, many now consider a close friend (55%), colleague (38%), or neighbor (36%) to be “part of the family.” More than two-thirds (68%) of Americans reported adding a new “family member” during the last 18 months and 43 percent of those are still including that person in family mealtime.
The increased time together has also led to greater bonding opportunities. More than half of American parents (55%) in the poll say that cooking with their kids is a regular part of family mealtime now. Respondents also shared stories of their most memorable mealtime moments, including holiday gatherings, unexpected proposals, food fights, and even one funny incident where burnt cooking gave way to a family pizza night.