When you market healthy food to families, you’re selling more than just the biological benefits of eating well; you’re selling independence, a connection with cultural traditions, and stronger family ties.

Let’s consider family A, who decides it would just be easier to pick up the phone and order out on any given Tuesday night. Easy.

Family B plans and cooks a meal from scratch, making a conscious decision to share the experience, leave the TV off, and to enjoy each other’s company. Suddenly the processes of chopping, steaming, and sautéing mean so much more.

Chances are the process of eating the actual meal together took about the same amount of time in each case. But common sense tells us that Family B has the healthier, tastier, and more fulfilling evening.

Breaking bread at the dinner table is where, as the food writer Michael Pollan puts it, “we teach our children the manners they need to get along in society. We teach them how to share. To take turns. To argue without fighting and insulting other people. They learn the art of adult conversation.” Out of the simple family meal, he says, is born democracy.

That’s the power of cooking, eating, and sharing the experience of healthy food with those around you.

And that’s why health food companies that are already doing it should be saluted, for helping to repair an American way of eating that has had obvious detrimental effects on our waistlines, medical bills, and family dynamics.

But if you’re a brand struggling to promote your food to the public, what are you not doing that you could be doing? What are the successful brands doing right, and how can you learn to do it as well? Perhaps a most basic way to make deep connections to families is to use the families in your communications.

Whether you’re in the traditional media or connecting through the ever-expanding possibilities in the digital sphere, make sure the families that you are marketing to know that you are about more than just the food. Make sure they know that in addition to food that is healthy and delicious, the conscious act of eating together is the real benefit. Remind them that your brand knows what life is really about—family. Even if others in America have temporarily forgotten.