Mealtime is an important part of the day for families. It's a time to come together and share stories, laughter, and good food. But sometimes it can be hard to have the perfect mealtime. If you're struggling to create a positive atmosphere at the dinner table, don't worry! We've got some tips for you. In this blog post, we will discuss how to create a stress-free mealtime environment for your family. Follow these tips and you'll be able to enjoy mealtimes together like never before!
There's no denying that family meals are important - and not just for eating together. They are special times when families can get together, discuss the day's events that have unfolded and comfort each other when family members had a bad day.
Unfortunately, too few families regularly enjoy the time to sit down and enjoy a meal together while discussing topics ranging from interesting stuff they did that day to plans for the future.
In a recent study by FMI, The Food Industry Association, only 50% of families actually eat dinner together and this is most common among families with children vs adults living together. The top five obstacles to having dinner at home with the family include:
- Differing Schedules - 55%
- Too many distractions get in the way - 21%
- Not enough time to prepare meals - 21%
- Not enough energy or too tired to prepare a family dinner at home - 19%
- Differing tastes make a family dinner challenging 18%
The reality of family mealtimes is they seldom go according to plan. Meltdowns by children (and sometimes adults), problems with meals that are overcooked or not liked, and rushing to eat are just some of the reasons why family meals can go wrong.
While we can't solve all of the obstacles to a healthy family dinner, there are some actions that you can take to make the experience better.
Theme Nights Are Cliché But They Work
Whether it is Taco Tuesday or Meatless Monday, creating a routine around dinner helps families know when and what to expect. Routines help children feel comfortable and secure. And for busy families, routines provide a much-needed sense of predictability in an otherwise chaotic world.
Prepare A Meal That Everyone Loves
The first thing to do is ensure that you prepare a meal that everyone will love to eat. When you have young children, you'll typically find they only like certain elements of a meal that you and your significant other enjoy eating as a whole.
Still, that's okay, because you can always create a platter of things from your meal that your kids will definitely eat.
When looking for meal ideas, think about what everyone is likely to eat. For example, Creme de la Crumb's pork tenderloin recipe is delicious for adults and kids alike.
Cook Your Meal With Plenty Of Time To Spare
Next, you need to ensure you start cooking your family meals early. This is true for dinners but also for preparing healthy lunches.
Doing so gives you plenty of time to correct any potential cooking disasters, and it also means everyone won't feel rushed to eat their food if they're going to be late for work, doing their homework, or going to bed.
It might make sense to prepare some of your meal ingredients earlier in the day or before you leave for work, so you don't need to cook your meals at a lightning pace!
Let The Kids Take An Active Role In Preparing Dinner
If you want to make sure your kids are engaged and excited about dinner time, then let them help out in the kitchen! This doesn't mean they need to be cooking the food themselves (unless they're old enough and you feel comfortable with that), but they can help with things like setting the table, measuring ingredients, and helping to mix them into bowls.
Not only will this make them more likely to eat what's on their plate, but it'll also give them a sense of responsibility and ownership over the meal. It can also be an opportunity for you to teach a bit of math and science as you measure ingredients or even an opportunity to talk about cultures and family heritage while preparing recipes passed down from one generation to the next.
Don't Be Afraid Of Meal Kits And Ready To Eat Meals
If comfort and experience with cooking is an obstacle that you face, don't be afraid of meal kits and ready-to-eat meals found at your grocery stores and various delivery services.
Avoid Pre-Dinner Snacking!
If you want your kids to be ravenous by dinner time, then tell them they're not allowed to snack before the meal. This might seem a bit mean, but it's actually an effective way to get them to focus on their food and appreciate all the hard work you've put into making dinner.
Turn Off Electronics Including Phones and Tablets
Another way to make sure your kids are focused on their food is to turn off all electronics, including phones and tablets. If they're not allowed to have any screens during dinner, then they'll be forced to interact with the people around them. This can be a great opportunity for families to bond and catch up on each other's day!
Creating a stress-free mealtime environment for your family can be easier than you think. Just follow our tips and you'll have the perfect family meal in no time! Planning ahead, cooking with plenty of time to spare, and letting kids help themselves to various ingredients are all great ways to ensure everyone enjoys their dinner. And don't forget about playing some background music to keep the mood light and fun!