One of your goals for the new year may be to cook more, make healthier meals and sit down together to eat as a family. With all of the kids activities and long hours at the office, I know it can be very hard to do this. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make it happen every day. Here are my five simple tips to help you get started:
1. Planning: Take some time on Sunday to figure out meals you will be having for the entire week.
2. Incorporate takeout: It’s not always possible to cook every day. I am a big fan of Chipotle and pizza. (Make a big salad to go with the pizza. I always try to have romaine lettuce and tomatoes in the house to make a salad and incorporate vegetables as part of the meal).
3 – Have the kids help you cook: My girls like to help me make chicken meatballs and tacos. To make the tacos healthier, you can use large lettuce leaves instead of using an actual taco shell to wrap up the meat, etc.
4 – You don’t have to be perfect: Try to commit to sitting down together 2-4 times a week and don’t allow TV and electronic gadgets at the dinner table.
5 – Six O’ Clock Scramble: This is my secret weapon. For me the challenge very often is not about actually making dinner, but what to make. A few years ago, I discovered The Six O’Clock Scramble. It is an online menu and recipe service to help parents plan and prepare healthy home-cooked dinners, and is often described by users as “life-changing.” It has been for me 🙂 For $3 to $7 per month (depending upon subscription length), Scramble members get a weekly dinner plan that includes easy recipes, side dishes and a corresponding grocery list plus access to thousands of more recipes online. For more information or to sign up for the Six O’Clock Scramble, click here.
And if my tips did not get you motivated to sit down together as a family to eat a meal, perhaps this WED MD article – Family Dinners Are Important by Jeanie Lerche Davis will. I have attached an excerpt from the article:
10 Benefits of Family Dinners
Toting up all the benefits of frequent family dinners:
• Everyone eats healthier meals.
• Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
• Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
• They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
• They won’t likely try marijuana.
• They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
• Friends won’t likely abuse prescription drugs.
• School grades will be better.
• You and your kids will talk more.
• You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
• Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
• There will be less stress and tension at home.
I know this is so cliché, but kids do grow up so quickly. Enjoy this meal time together as a family. Bon appétit!