Gathering around the table to eat as a family has many benefits. Parents become the role models and create a supportive environment to promote healthy eating. A higher frequency of family meals leads to eating breakfast more often, consuming less junk foods, eating more fruits and vegetables, and having a healthy weight. Family meal time has been shown to decrease behavior issues as kids get older, improve family relationships, and increase academic success.
Tips for having family meals more often:
- Simplify by having some go to recipes that take 30 mins or less to prepare. Consider preparing meals ahead of time in a slower cooker or using an instant pressure cooker for faster cooking times.
- Lack of inspiration? Consider looking through cookbooks from your collection or from the library for new ideas. Try websites like allrecpes.com, simplyrecipe.com, cookinglight.com. Joining a subscription-based menu planning website might be an easy way to get new ideas and streamline the process.
- Involve your family in the preparation. Ask the kids to set the table, pour drinks, prepare simply sides. Older kids can get involved in making the grocery list and shopping.
- Make it a habit by scheduling a certain time and day each week for your family to gather and share a meal together. It doesn’t have to be dinner. Maybe it works better for your family to all eat breakfast together each week.
- Add some fun and excitement with food themes. Pick a certain topic or ask a specific question each meal that your kids can look forward to answering.