If you want your kids to have healthy eating habits, one of the best things that you can do is to establish family mealtime. Family meals do not need to be complicated or stressful and you don’t need fine china, table linens, or a six course meal to call it a family dinner. What you do need is a simple structure and the goal to make family meals a priority. I would like to challenge you to increase your family meals per week. If you currently do not eat together as a family, no shame, just aim to have 1 weekly family meal. If you already eat together as a family 1x per week, aim for 2x per week…if 2 then 3, etc.
There are many research studies that have shown why it is important to eat together as a family.
Here are a few reasons to make family meals a priority…
- Kids who eat regularly with their families are less likely to be overweight or obese and are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables.
- Kids who eat regularly with their families are less likely to develop an eating disorder, get depressed or consider suicide.
- Kids who eat regularly with their families tend to better in school and stay away from cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs.
- Kids who eat regularly with their families tend to have closer relationships with family members, higher self esteem, and a greater sense of control over their own lives.
Here are 7 simple tips for organizing family meals:
- Make it a priority. Write it on the calendar. Set a goal of at least 1 family meal per week and build it up from there.
- Keep it simple. You don’t need a 6 course meal to count as a family dinner. Two slices of pizza, salad and sliced watermelon can easily count as a quick family meal.
- Make a plan. Keep bagged salads, frozen veggies and fruits on hand so that it is easier to include them with your meal.
- Bring your kids into the kitchen. Ask kids to help make the salad, set the table or washing dishes.
- Avoid super-sized portions. It’s important to keep serving sizes under control, both at home and when dining out.
- Keep it fun! Family meal time should be relaxed and enjoyable. Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV, cell phones, computer, etc.
- Eat slowly. This is an opportunity for quality family time. Make the most of it!
Taco buffet dinner was always one of my favorite family meals. Tacos are extremely easy to make and most kids love them because they get to choose their own toppings. Below is a FREE downloadable pdf with a simple taco night formula. The combinations are pretty much limitless! Just click on the image to download the file.