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The Family Meal in Europe
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
2009 (English)In: Meals in science and practice: interdisciplinary research and business applications / [ed] Herbert Meiselman, Cambridge: Woodhead Publications , 2009, 219-235 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Dinner is a label mostly associated with sharing food with others, and especially with family members, in the late afternoon or evening. During recent decades, food researchers have shown an increasing interest in people’s meal frequency, and irregular eating, characterized by skipping traditional regular main meals in favour of discontinuous snacking. The arguments about grazing being a late modern phenomenon are based on the notion that a regular eating pattern in the presence of all family members was more or less a natural behaviour in the past and that it may soon be a phenomenon of the past. In Europe, ‘grazing’ has not been found to be a major trend in the beginning of the 21st century; on the contrary, a structured meal pattern is still common all over Europe. Sharing meals in a family context seems also to be a lively and present activity all over Europe. It is also an activity that European family members value as important. We can say that those people living together as a family most likely also eat together, and this is true mostly concerning the evening meal or dinner. The family meal seems to be a precursor of both nutritional and mental health. Thus, it is not the question of eating together that is a problem for European families in the beginning of the 21st century, but of what foods they decide to share together in everyday life.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Woodhead Publications , 2009. 219-235 p.
, Woodhead Publishing in food science, technology and nutrition
Keyword [en]
family meals, Europe, commensality, historical evidence, health, nutrition, frequency
National Category
Food Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-103667ISBN: 978-1-4398-0106-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-103667DiVA: diva2:218612
Available from: 2009-05-20 Created: 2009-05-20 Last updated: 2012-09-26

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Fjellström, Christina
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Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
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