Studies have repeatedly shown that family mealtime is important to the health and well-being of a family. Not only does it help family members bond, it also helps children connect with their parents and siblings. Family meal time has also been shown to impact the health of a child as well as their growth and development.
Here are a few tips, tactics, and ideas to make family meal time happen:
#1 Plan Ahead
Sit down once a week and plan the meals for the upcoming week.
Saturday is a great day to do this because it leaves time for shopping and meal preparation during the remainder of the weekend.
Look for meals that are easy to prepare and ask for input from your children. You may also want to create a family calendar so you can see at a glance what time dinner needs to be on the table each night.
Preparation is often just as challenging as actually getting everyone around the table at the same time.
There are two types of meals that can make meal preparation easier:
- The first type of meal is cooked ahead of time. Casseroles, stews, roasts and whole chickens are all good options. You can cook a chicken, or two, on Sunday and enjoy it on Monday and Tuesday and maybe even into Wednesday.
- The other type of easy meal is a crock pot meal, and you’d be surprised what you can prepare in a crock pot. From chili to a pork roast, you can make just about anything in a crock pot. You can even make dessert.
Finally, look for quick meals and preparation shortcuts. For example, you can buy a bag salad instead of taking time to chop all the vegetables yourself. You can also chop, dice, and slice on the weekends so meal prep during the week is as simple as pour, stir, cook and serve.
#3 Get Everyone Involved
There’s no reason why you can’t ask everyone to chip in with meal planning, meal preparation, and clean-up afterwards. When it’s a family affair, everyone feels more connected to the process and appreciates the family meal a bit more. And it’s certainly easier to get a meal on the table each night when you have help.
Family meal time is important. With a little planning and preparation you can make it happen. Stick with it; what is now a challenge will soon become routine.
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original photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/16784233542