Family meals don’t have to stress you out

eating together as a family - Loving biracial mom teach little kids cooking in kitchen Eating Together as a Family

We are often reminded of the importance of eating at least one meal together as a family. Sometimes that can be a struggle, even with families spending more time together as a result of continuing pandemic impacts. Dinner together isn’t always realistic, especially if the day runs longer or family members have other activities. Instead, dinner becomes a thrown-together process as everyone rushes in or out the door. How can that change? You might not be able to eat that evening meal together, but you have options to still be together.

  • What about breakfast? Would it fit better for your family for your shared meal to be breakfast together? That meal never requires us to be fancy, yet the time you spend together could be priceless as everyone prepares to start their day.
  • What about eating elsewhere? Dinner together doesn’t have to be around your dinner table. It could be in the backyard with a picnic. It could be at the local restaurant that has a specific weekly special you all enjoy. It could be takeout from a local food truck.
  • What about switching your family meal to a weekend? If your family’s schedule is so full you can’t fit in an evening meal together, take the time to at least eat together over the weekend. It could be a morning brunch or a late afternoon meal together.
  • How can you incorporate every family member? Meals often become one more shared responsibility within families, as they should be. That can include prepping food, putting out plates and silverware and even cleaning up after the meal. No one should just rush in and out of the meal. It may mean delegating, but it is important.

Don’t forget that meals don’t have to be completely homecooked or perfect for these family dinners. Consider your budget and time constraints as you look at options. Those options could also be using that slow cooker, prepping and freezing meals earlier in the week or month, taking advantage of subscription plans for meals or even creating basic meals. For example, who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner sometimes or simply throwing in a frozen pizza.

The point of family meals together is to simply enjoy each others’ company. Even if you feel there isn’t much talking, you are helping to make memories as well as build life skills. It’s why you shouldn’t be overwhelmed with the thought of a family meal together. Instead, simply enjoy the time together regardless of what and when you eat.

Benefits of eating together as a family

There are also benefits of eating together as a family. According to the Family Dinner Project many children

  • Do better in school.
  • Feel better about themselves, developing more self esteem and resilience.
  • They tend to have a lower risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression.
  • They are less likely to develop an eating disorder or have issues with their weight.
  • Also helps them develop healthier eating patterns as they grow up and become adults.

There are also benefits for adults.

  • They seem to eat less fast food opening up to better nutrition through healthy eating with more salads, fruits and vegetables.
  • Their need to diet lessens.
  • They too have a more positive feeling about themsevles as well as an increase in self esteem and a lower risk of depression.