• diet quality;
  • family meals;
  • food group intake;
  • mean adequacy ratio

It was anticipated that the frequency of family meals would positively influence the food group intake patterns of limited resource families with children. The sample consisted of new enrollees (N = 108) in the Nebraska Nutrition Education Program. The data included demographic information, 24-hour food recalls, family mealtime patterns, and a food group frequency questionnaire. One of the measures was the Mean Adequacy Ratio (MAR), which compares the intake of individual nutrients to the Dietary Reference Intake. The 24-hour recalls showed that only 27.8% of the primary caregivers had a MAR < 75, which is considered to be adequate. For the total group of caregivers, the mean MAR score was 61. Chi-square tests revealed the following significant relationships between frequency of family meals and food consumption by the oldest school-aged child: increased frequency of family breakfast and the milk group; increased frequency of both family breakfast and lunch and 100% fruit juice; and increased frequency of family breakfast and fruit.