Five simple tips for getting dinner on the table faster and making family meal time a priority.
While we all know it’s important to sit down at the table every night for a family meal, it seems there are just as many obstacles preventing us from doing so on a daily basis. Whether you’re busy shuttling kids to sporting events, working late in the office or simply forgot to meal plan, I know how hard it can be to make that family meal happen.
But I think it’s important we try.
You see, I grew up eating dinner together with my parents and sisters every single night as a kid. While we didn’t always have the most elaborate meal (sometimes it came in the form of a takeout container) we always sat around a table together as a family.
No smart phones or TVs, just good old fashioned family banter. And sarcasm…really dry sarcasm. But you know what? I’m so glad we did and now that I’m a mom myself, I vow to make dinnertime a priority for my family as well.
In case you aren’t convinced, there are endless proven benefits of eating dinner together as a family. In fact, studies suggest that children who eat together with their family at least three times a week are 12% less likely to be overweight. Additionally, teens who eat dinner with their families more often are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.
While I don’t have teenagers yet (yet!), I know that the traditions we create now will help shape the way we eat together as a family as they grow up. Because just looking at this photo from a few months ago is making me realize just how quickly they are growing!
To make that a reality, here are 5 Tips for Making Family Dinner a Priority:
Meal Plan: Taking a few hours on Sunday to meal plan for the week will save you time, stress and money all week long. Be sure to read my guide on Weekly Meal Planning and Cost Savings Tips for specific strategies.
Seasonal Swaps: Instead of reinventing the wheel each night, take your favorite pasta, stir-fry or soup and simply swap out the usual ingredients with whatever is in season. Love my Szechuan Green Beans and Ground Turkey? Swap out the green beans for asparagus in the spring or broccoli in the winter!
Befriend the Slow Cooker: One of the easiest ways to guarantee that you’ll have dinner on the table in time is to master a few simple and delicious slow cooker meals. Our family favorites include 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant, Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup and Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.
Just Say NO to Kid Food: In our family, there is no such thing as kid food. Our kids are served what the adults are served and if they are hungry, they eat it. If not, they don’t eat as much. The result? I don’t become a short order cook making three different meals and my kids will (hopefully) wind up with an expanded pallet.
Healthy Takeout Is Your Friend: At least once a week we order Lebanese takeout from our favorite local spot. We feast on hummus, Lebanese salad, chicken tawook and other Middle Eastern dishes that remind me of my childhood. Eating dinner together as a family doesn’t mean you have to slave in the kitchen all day. Take the time to find a few local healthy restaurants so that you have a go-to that doesn’t involve shiny red signs and golden arches.
What tips do you have for sitting around the table as a family? I’d love to hear from you!
For more tips, check out my Healthy Living board on Pinterest!