Making Family Memories Around the Dinner Table

Lee Ann Fields, Judd, Cathy S.

family eating togetherjpgI remember when my girls were young and how our time was filled with my work, sports, school activities, and deadlines for them and me both. Oh, how I long for those days again! How does a family stay connected with all the busyness? Try with a few family meals around the table. I know this is a challenge with all the scheduled activities. You will have to plan for family meals just like you do for work and children’s activities on your calendar.Here are a few tips to help you do that; talk to your family to collect all their activities, write them and yours on the calendar to determine days they will be available for family meals. You may find out you can have three or more meals together.

Family meals together are very valuable. Be flexible about when you have family meals together.The meal might be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pick a time that you are not too rushed. Meals should be relaxed and enjoyable.

Be creative with your family meals. If you know you are going to be late at the ball park, pack a picnic dinner everyone will enjoy.Many nights, I had work and deadlines to meet so my girls went to the office with me. We ate a meal together, and then they watched movies while I completed the work.

Try to keep family meals simple.I know we would all like “Sunday dinner” for every meal.Try adding a few healthy take outs with a meal. It will save your time and energy. Pick up grilled or broiled chicken instead of fried. When you get home add vegetables, fruits, whole grains to complete the meals.

Family meals can be memorable when family members share responsibilities. Small children who are eager to help can set the table. Teens that just got their driver’s license can help with the shopping. If you have a child that is dreaming of being on a celebrate chef show one day, they can get a lot of practice in the family kitchen preparing family meals.Sharing responsibilities and duties give everyone a sense of being part of a family.

Think back when you were growing up in your family.Many of us have fond memories of sharing time with our family around the meal table. There are many benefits of sharing family meals. Some of these benefits shown by research are:

  • The meals are more likely to be healthier, more nutritious.
  • More vegetable and fruits are being consumed by children who eat regularly with their family.
  • Parent who model positive attitudes and good food choices affect their children’s behavior towards food.
  • Cooking skills and appreciation for different kinds of food are learned at home.
  • Family members have an opportunity to visit with children, find out about their day and upcoming events.
  • Parents and caregivers have an opportunity to model table etiquette. Good table manners can come in handy one day. Children will be prepared for an invitation to a friend’s home, homecoming activities, later a dinner date, or a job interview during a meal.
  • Families make memories and traditions around the dinner table that will last a life time.

Take the challenge! Try to round up your bunch and have a meal around the dinner table.

10/17/2018 6:35:53 PM
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