Is this the death of the dining room?

The continuously evolving dinner trends in the UK see fewer families than ever before sitting down to have dinner together, with those that still eat together having their dinner in front of the TV rather than the dining table. More than 20% of British families sit down and have dinner once or twice a week, while one in five families have their meals in front of the telly. Does this spell the end of the road for traditional dining rooms, given the many unused dining room tables?

Trends which are on the rise in the UK include eating out, social dining and casual dining. Affordability plays a big role in determining where UK families are eating out, with chain restaurants offering a moderately priced, comfortable dining experience that’s emerging as a favourite.

What families may not be aware of though is what a study on The Telegraph revealed, that being that families which ate dinner in the dining room or kitchen tend to have lower BMIs – a measure of obesity equal to weight (kilograms) divided by the square of your height (metres). Is the dining room the key to keeping one’s family healthy?

Provider of dinner sets Oldrids and Downtown highlight the importance of families sitting down to family meals together, suggesting that it may just be time for us to dust off the dining room table and spend more quality time with our families.

A healthier, happier home

Dining at home around the dinner table with your family makes for a healthier approach to dinner times, going a long way to fight the imminent issue of obesity in the UK. In England, nearly 10% of children in their first year of school are obese and with continuously rising figures, a healthier lifestyle should be encouraged.

A survey found that 9-14 year old children that frequently eat dinner with their families consume more fruit and vegetables, as well as less fried foods and sodas.

In restaurants, portion sizes are continuing to grow, while homemade meals give us greater control over our portions. Studies show that we feel the need to eat more food when presented with more, with as much as 60% less calories in a homemade meal than meals outside the home. Clearly eating at home is healthier for us.

71% of teenagers say that the best part of family dinners is talking, catching up and spending time with family members. This makes dinner times are a great opportunity to get the family together for some quality bonding time.

Money savings

Eating at home actually saves more money, despite the fact that some families choose to eat out because the likes of chain restaurants are becoming a lot more affordable. Families can no longer claim home cooking is too expensive for a family of four with the availability of so many money saving recipes from leading supermarkets and celebrity chefs. As supermarkets compete with each other to be the cheapest whilst maintaining good quality, the produce available is cheaper than ever, whilst some supermarkets offer ‘feed four for under £10’ offers – a price that restaurants can’t contend with.

Kelly Tate