Tips for Family Meals Together
The tradition of eating together at mealtime seems to be quickly diminishing with hectic work and activity schedules for families. Here’s some tips to help you get through the chaos and enjoy your time together with your family.
- Prepare one meal for everyone.
Try to include one food that everyone likes. Bear in mind that learning that every meal will not be a favorite for everyone is a good life lesson. Pick recipes that can be adapted for babies, toddlers and those with specific dietary needs so you are preparing one meal. This exposes everyone to flavours and foods that others in the family enjoy and develops a habit. Our One Meal One Family program is designed to learn to cook family meals just like this. For more info click here.
- Get your family involved in planning and preparing meals.
Get your family members involved. This could be giving everyone a turn to plan a meal. While every meal is not going to be your favorite, everyone will appreciate that their turn is coming. Delegate tasks like setting the table, preparing the salad or other dishes, and of course the clean up, will allow more time for everyone to be together.
- Make it fun, shut off distractions.
Food brings everyone together but the conversation is what keeps us there. Make it a positive experience. This is not the time to lecture teenagers or allow grumbling. Shut off distractions like tvs, cell phones, ipads, if the phone rings let it go to voicemail. Developing social and conversation skills will bode well for stronger connections and sense of belonging. Check out our pinterest board for ideas on family time conversation starters.
- Model good eating behaviour.
Our eating habits are highly influenced by the environment we grow up in. Modelling how to politely respond to food you may not like, being open to trying new food, discussing flavours and textures beyond saying “yuck” will create habits instilling healthy eating.
- Try to eat together at least 3 times per week. Be creative.
If dinnertime is just not a reality, not to worry. Plan for a breakfast together or a break from studying or work in the evenings when everyone is home. How about a picnic after the soccer practice and before piano lessons?
- Make family meals a priority.
Most importantly, the emphasis you put on being together will be instilled on your children and partner. Research shows that children perceive homemade meals as more valuable than eating out or bringing prepared food home. Your efforts are truly noticed and appreciated!
Our recent interview on Global Calgary morning news has more tips to eat healthier and affordably by sharing family meals. Check it out here.