Eating meals together are essential to the physical and emotional health of your family.
Is this familiar? You read a great recipe on the weekend and you’re going to introduce something new, healthy and delicious to your family. So you race home from work and hustle hard to get it on the table. And…? Tears, eye-rolling, a lot of pushing food around and gagging. And that’s just from your husband.
Preparing family dinners can be stressful, thankless work. And yet, evidence abounds around the emotional, social and physical benefits of eating together: everything from a sense of well-being and calm, to better grades, to increased interest in food and health.
The questions is not whether you should eat together as a family, but rather how to do it in a way that is less stressful and more fun so you can do it regularly.
- Compromise. I’m odd-man (woman) out in my family. I would have way more veg, fish and vegan dishes than my husband and kids. But to keep the peace and keep the balance, I alternate my favourites with theirs. I try to combine it with something I know they’ll love, but absolutely will not make a second meal.
- Ask questions. People’s tastes change. Check in at meal time and find out what people like, what people want to try and what can be dropped from meal rotation.
- Be realistic. If you want to incorporate new meals into your roster, try to add one or two new meals a month. Try a new recipe when you have the most chance of success: you have enough time to prepare it and the night isn’t super busy with extra-curriculars, homework and projects.
- Get your kids involved! Bring your kids shopping, let them do some prep, cooking or even take the lead on a meal. Kids will have much more interest in eating if they have a say in what they eat and play a role. Get them to invest in meal time.
- Cut yourself some slack. You are busy. Really busy. Choose one thing to change around meal time and commit to it. Grand, wholesale plans (eat vegan every night, kids will cook all meals, zero take out) are a set up. Take baby steps and enjoy each one.
- Get your partner involved. Even if you hate their cooking. Get them to make one meal a week that you can all get behind.
As much as you can, treat meal times as a chance to hit the pause button, break bread, check in and enjoy each other.
PS: Looking for ways to inspire your kids to take the lead? How about a cooking class? New block of classes in January. Book now to get 10% off!