Eat Well

Family Meals Matter

Oct 07, 2011

Believe me, I get it – gone are the days of seven days a week, dinner around the table with the entire immediate family (if you do manage this, I truly admire you!) But while it may not be happening every night, nowadays with a grim economy and unemployment rising, most of us have cleaned the clutter off our kitchen table (or maybe just put it on a chair like myself) and are dining in instead of out. While the current financial picture may be motivation enough to eat at home more often, unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean we’re eating together as a family. You may be surprised that there are so many benefits, besides healthier eating habits, which can be credited to the family meal. Take a look:

OK, we’re convinced – but HOW can we make this work with our overbooked lives and truly “get back to the table”? Here are three basic tips:

Schedule Family Dinner
Whether it be a Smartphone sync, a day planner or a good old fashioned calendar, get out whatever you use to coordinate schedules and mark down “FAMILY DINNER” for at least one more night a week than you’ve been doing it. And here’s the extra challenge: besides an emergency, do not bump it once it’s on the calendar (unless you can reschedule for the very next day.)

Keep It Simple
Of course the food selection is important, but don’t let visions of a turkey with trimmings or three courses from scratch thwart your family time efforts. This dietitian says a take-out pizza, salad and pitcher of milk can count as great dinner, too.  And of course, Libby’s has you covered when it comes to convenient, nutritious and delicious recipes.

No Multitasking at the Table
Make the family dinner table a cell phone-TV-computer-handheld-free zone. Without these major distractions, it’s easier to ask about everyone’s day, share stories or even tell jokes. The key is to have an actual conversation with your entire family.