Julianne Moore's Dinnertime Rule: No Phones at the Table!

The actress explains why she makes family mealtimes a priority and why she feels more confident at 49 than ever before

Forget frozen dinners in front of the TV! Despite her busy schedule, Julianne Moore tries to always make time to sit down at the dinner table with her family. The Oscar-nominated actress says she cooks for her husband, writer-director Bart Freundlich, and their two kids -- Caleb, 12, and Liv, 8 -- at least four times a week. "It's our time to connect, honestly," she says. And to eliminate distractions, she has a strict rule: No cell phones at the table!

When iVillage caught up with the 49-year-old actress (who starred in this summer's critically acclaimed The Kids Are All Right), she was looking forward to a rare Friday night out with her husband. In our exclusive interview, Moore dishes about their date-night plans, the importance of mealtimes and her feelings about turning 50.

You're involved with the Share the Table initative. Tell us about it.

I’m partnering on this with Barilla and with Mario Batali. It’s a project designed to bring families around the table to celebrate the dinner hour. They've created a celebrity pasta lover’s cookbook, and there are recipes in there from me, Mario Batali, Meryl Streep, Jimmy Fallon, Mariska Hargitay and Andy Roddick. You can download it for free at sharethetable.com until Oct. 15, and for every person that downloads it, a dollar will be donated to Meals on Wheels.

Why do you think mealtimes are important?

Not only do you feed your family, but you talk to them about their day and what happened. It’s a time to really find out what’s going on with your family -- to connect, honestly.

How often do you actually cook for your family?

We have a little house at the beach, and I cooked just about until I thought I was ready to chop my head off! I probably cook more out there than I do when I’m in the city. Here we eat in at least four times a week. (During the school year) we all eat at 6 o’clock. The stuff that I make is very simple -- I’m no Mario Batali!

Is it hard to get everyone to turn off the iPods and BlackBerries and focus on family time?

Not at all, because that’s always been (the rule). When you eat dinner everything goes off: the television goes off, nobody answers the phone, nobody has their personal phone at the table. And we sit down, everybody talks to each other, and it’s a really nice time.

What’s your favorite thing to cook for your family?

Summer cooking is really my favorite because you’re dealing with some unbelievable produce and usually great fish. So that’s the kind of cooking that I like to do because it’s not terribly complicated.

Are you ever tempted to just order takeout?

Oh yeah, absolutely! Barilla is encouraging people to cook, but I don’t think that they would be averse to the idea that every once in a while you can order food in and sit around the table and enjoy that, too. As long as what you’re eating is good.

Is it hard to get your kids to eat healthy?

I got some advice from another mom who has a teenager. We’re very anti-soda and junk food in my house. But she said, "You know, they’re going to get older, and they’re going to go somewhere where they can drink a lot of soda and eat potato chips. It’s not the worst thing in the world if you have that stuff at your house and they come to your house and eat it." It was kind of an amazing piece of advice because she said that's not the worst thing that kids can do –- drink a lot of Coke and eat junk food.

Were you able to take any family vacations this summer?

Well, we have a house in Long Island -- a little, tiny, tiny beach house. We were actually lucky enough to be out there for July and August, which is really unusual for us to have that much time off.

What kind of activities do you like to do as a family?

We swim a lot. We all get in the pool and swim together. We go to the ocean, we hang out at the beach. We do a lot of sporty stuff. We go on long walks together, which of course the kids always complain about, but it’s not so bad once you get out there. And we play a lot of mini golf.

Who’s the best?

My husband -- he’s a great golfer, I have to say!

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