Thursday, November 13, 2014

15+ Quick Tips to Have More Family Meals

Don't have time to linger at the table?
Don't have the schedules that allow you sit together at a meal?
Don't have the energy to cook?

I don't have all the solutions here, but here are 15+ quick tips to designed to get your family all together at meals more often.

* Resolve to eat together. Decide with your spouse that this is something you want to do and are willing to work to make it happen.

* Talk it up with the kids. Reminisce about family meals when you were growing up. Watch some old Waltons, Brady Bunch, or even Leave it to Beaver shows where they have fun eating together. 

* Don't over-schedule. No one has to be in every activity that comes along. "No" is a word. A very important word.

* Ask your kids what kind of food they like when it's made at home. Get a list of ideas. Hopefully some will be quick and easy.

* Lists, lists, lists. Make a menu list. Make a grocery store list. Then take the time, make the time, to actually browse in the grocery store and buy everything you need. (Remind yourself how much money you will be saving over restaurants, carry-out, and even fast food!)

* Cook for two, meals that is. If you are making meatloaf, lasagna, soup, stew, or so much more, make enough for two meals. It's not that much more work and you can freeze one for a night next week when you are busy or tired.

* Find shortcuts. When I lived overseas everything had to be "from scratch." Now that I live in the states I find things like jars of minced garlic to be one of the best inventions around! When bagged salads are on sale, I go ahead and use them--especially coleslaw that takes so long to chop. 

* Don't let others look down on your unorganic sugar coated meals. Those voices are probably just in your head. But even if it's not, repeat after me: grilled cheese on white bread, canned tomato soup, and Oreos® at home are better than burgers and fries in the car. Any day.

* Enlist help. In the kitchen put on the kids favorite music and put them all to work while they dance and sing. Preschoolers can do way more than you think, but if you are skeptical, let them wash the lettuce. Older kids can cut, chop, combine, and even stir-fry. Most anyone can help set the table.

* House rules: you eat what I serve. I have one daughter who is a vegetarian so she didn't have to eat the meat, but she ate the veggies and other things I made. No one (unless they are sick) gets a special separate meal.

* Save labor-intensive meals like a roast, curried anything, and enchiladas, for weekends when you might have more time.

Quick Kid-Friendly Meals
* Macaroni and Cheese with chopped turkey hot dogs in it. Serve with microwave-steamed green peas.

* "Gourmet" frozen pizza. Take a hint from the fancy pizza restaurants and add some sautéed spinach and/or red, green, yellow, or orange peppers. That way you don't even need a side of salad to get some veggies inside your family. 

* While you are baking chicken nuggets or fish sticks cut up some red pepper strips, add some grape tomatoes and baby carrots. Give everyone their own little bowl of their favorite low fat dressing and let them have "hors d'oeuvres" while they wait.

* Hot dogs and baked beans. Maybe it's not the healthiest food they've ever eaten, but if it's only once in a while and if it's instead of a bacon cheese burger, it's fine!

* Pancakes! I love breakfast for supper. Serve it with berries and bananas and orange juice to pack in the vitamins!

Now just do it!

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  1. Eating together had always been so important to me, and still is. But as kids grow older and are out of the house more it is harder to do! Plus my hubby's been out of town with work. Now that's he's home I plan on getting back into family meals. Thanks for your tips

  2. Such a great post. I loved the "...better than burgers in the car..." point. So true!



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