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Family Meals Around the Table {Day 28}

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Family Meals Around the Table {how to do it and why they're important} @ AVirtuousWoman.org #mealtime

Family Meals are Important

In the picture above, my son had come home from college {he’s the one with the beard} and I can’t tell you how special it was to me to have all of my kids around the table at the same time!

There’s just something wonderful about sitting around the table, eating good food, and enjoying good conversation and laughter. It brings a family closer together.

Mealtimes don’t have to be elaborate to be special – although I love cooking big meals! Whatever you’re eating, whether it be oatmeal for breakfast, soup and sandwiches for lunch, or even spaghetti pie for supper, what’s important is that you are together.

For me, planning my menu each week really helps ensure that not only do I have a plan for what we’re eating, but we also are eating well balanced, healthy meals on a daily basis – even when we are gone from home all day.

[Tweet “Mealtimes don’t have to be elaborate to be special. #familydinner #mealtime #tips”]

10 Benefits of Family Dinners

We all know that most families are super busy and a lot of us have crazy schedules. But, eating on the run all the time isn’t healthy for the mind or body or the family. In fact, studies have shown that when families eat together around the table:

  • 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.

 Source: WebMD.com

10 Ways to Make Time for Meal Time

Since it’s so important to spend time around the table as a family, as moms we need to make it a priority. Here are some tips to help you find time to enjoy frequent meals together.

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1. Simplify Your Schedule. – When you’re too busy, family time suffers. Sometimes we need to cut back on outside activities so that we can spend more time as a family.

2. Utilize your slow cooker on busy days. When I know I’m going to be gone for most of the day, I love to throw a quick meal together in the slow cooker. It only take a few minutes in the morning and supper is piping hot when we walk in the door!

3. Eat breakfast together if dinner time is hectic. If your teens are constantly on the go, why not make breakfast everyday a priority. If your family is usually still at home at 6:30 or 7:00 am, why not eat breakfast together everyday? You can even try using the slow cooker overnight and wake up to a hot breakfast!

4. Make it a priority. As a mom it’s okay to tell your kids they need to be home for supper.

5. Cook once, eat twice. Sometimes when I’m making a pan of enchiladas, a casserole, or one of our family favorites, I’ll double the recipe and have one for the freezer. Other times, I plan for leftovers for the next day. It saves time!

6. Insist that kids and teens eat with the family. Don’t let the kids scatter to their rooms or favorite place in the house as soon as they fix their plates.

7. Turn off the TV. Eating every meal in front of the television doesn’t build family relationships. It’s okay every now and then to have “dinner and a movie” but don’t do it every night!

8. Get everyone involved with the preparation and clean up. Assign kids dinner time chores from setting the table to fixing the salad to washing the dishes. Remember, families are a team and teams work together.

9. If you have to eat out, sit at a table together. Those when you aren’t home at mealtime and need to eat out, try to go in and sit together. Choose healthier options and talk to your kids about why certain foods are not the healthy choice.

10. Keep a picnic basket and blanket ready to go and add sandwiches, fruit, and water bottles for eating on the run at ball games or at the ice rink. On Wednesdays we head out early in the morning for a day at the ice rink. I like to pack our lunch and we sit together around a table and eat together.

Remember that meal time should be enjoyable so save stressful topics of conversation for other times. Keep things light and fun and laugh a lot! We want to create good memories around the table!

[Tweet “Keep meal time light and fun with lots of laughter with these free printable conversation starters!”]

 Conversation Starters

Here’s a list of free printable conversation starters to help you:

How do you make meal time meaningful in your home?

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