Getting the Whole Family Back to the Dinner Table February 27, 2018
We get it – family life is busy! Between work, school, extra-curricular activities, homework (the list goes on)… Putting a meal on the table night after night that’s healthy, liked by all, easy, quick and budget friendly ain’t all that easy!
We are constantly being reminded of how important family meals are and the benefits that eating together as a family can provide. Dinner time is an opportunity to connect and communicate with one another, relax, laugh and share stories. Not only that, but studies have also shown that children who eat with theirs families have healthier diets, do better academically and have more self-esteem.
So, if you are struggling with the Monday to Friday grind and feeling like your family meal times could do with some attention, we are here to offer you a few quick tips for making dinners a happy household time for everyone.
Set aside time for family dinners.
Eating together as a family creates a perfect opportunity to catch up with one another and chat about the day, so it is important to make it a priority in your busy week. Have a look at everyone’s schedules for the week ahead and decide on the evenings you will have dinner together.
Plan your meals for the week.
Get your families input on what they would like to see on the menu for the week! Work in some of their favourites while keeping in mind healthy, balanced meals and a good variety over the week. Use the opportunity to try new dinner recipes and cuisines – there are tonnes of family dinner ideas available online. Also think about meals where you could cook a bit extra and use the leftovers for lunch. Things like roast chickens, curries, pasta dishes and stir fries are great for this!
Write your shopping list.
Once you have decided on your family dinner recipes write out your shopping list with everything you will need for the week. This will save time at the shops and if you are really organised will mean you only need to make one trip to the supermarket! Having a list also means you only buy what you need and this helps to reduce waste and spending. Triple win!!
Get the kids involved.
Getting kids in the kitchen can encourage an interest in food and teach them important lifeskills. Plus, they are more likely to eat the meal and try new things! There are plenty of ways you can involve kids of all ages in preparing family dinner. The younger ones can help set the dinner table, toss a salad, wash fresh produce, measure and stir ingredients and the older ones can help put recipes together and cook – hey, you might even be able to convince them to cook family dinner on a regular basis! Meals that are a bit more hands on like crumbed chicken or meatballs are great recipes for kids to help out with. Getting everyone to chip in helps to create a shared experience amd can make even a regular weeknight dinner more fun and memorable.
Get rid of the distractions.
Family dinner time should be sacred – a time to reflect on the day, relax, share stories and interact with one another. All things that are unlikely to happen with the distractions of the television, mobile phones and social media within arms reach. So set out a few dinner time rules to ensure make sure family meals are conducive to interacting with the people around the table. We promise it will make family dinner time so much more enjoyable and beneficial for everybody.
Be a good role model.
Your kids learn a lot about food, eating and table manners by watching what you do at mealtimes so try and set a good example. Eating with the family helps younger children learn to eat the same healthy food as everybody else and may encourage fussy eaters to try new foods. They will also observe and hopefully in time mimic your table manners – this includes the use of devices!
Have some fun!
A nice way to add some fun and enjoyment to family dinner times is to do something a bit different every so often. Schedule in a themed night such as taco night or pizza night. These sorts of meals are perfect in getting everyone involved and can give the whole family something to look forward to.