In this time of social change and routine upheaval, families sitting down and eating meals together is one of the most important steps you can take to nurture your relationships, not only with each other, but the relationship you and your family have with their food. If you find yourself concerned about what your child does (and does not) eat, the solution could be as close as your kitchen table. Nothing is quite as satisfying and fulfilling as preparing a nutritious meal for yourself and your loved ones and sitting around the table together to enjoy it as a family unit. The family meal, eating together and the social aspects of sharing food have been a cornerstone of life from Paleolithic times until today.
Sharing dinner together gives everyone a sense of identity. It can help ease day-to-day conflicts, creates a time for connection and a safe space for communication and can begin to re-establish traditions and memories that can last a lifetime.
Creating A Family Meal
Using a few simple strategies, getting dinner on the table need not be laborious or complicated and getting everyone to participate is easier than you once thought:
Keep It Simple.
Attempting to make a meal with 20 ingredients can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, build a small collection of go-to recipes to help you get in and out of the kitchen in under 30 minutes.
Choose Ingredients That Multitask.
Ingredients you can use for more than one meal are a major time saver. Instead of making three chicken breasts, consider making six. This way, you can use the extras in other dishes later in the week, such as chicken salad or fajitas.
Create A Habit
Make sure each family member knows that dinner is happening at a particular time. When everyone expects to enjoy dinner at a specific time, they will begin to look forward to this and will arrange their schedules around it.
Make Meals Fun.
Add some fun and excitement with food themes. You can use a checkered tablecloth for an Italian-inspired meal, or prepare fresh Asian-inspired cuisine and eat with chopsticks. Throw a blanket on your family room floor and enjoy a family picnic. Let everyone choose a theme, and you will see that your choices are endless.
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If you are feeling adventurous and looking to add some delicious and easy Paleo friendly meals to your repertoire, some of our favorites are:
Buffalo Shrimp Spaghetti Squash
Make a Commitment
Eating meals together just might be the ultimate parenting hack. Now is the perfect opportunity to start your new family meal tradition by making a commitment to eating at least one meal together each week. Many families look forward to and love a dinner tradition. Before you know it, family dinner will be a time that everyone looks forward to enjoying together!