Keep Family Meals Simple

Teens have been heard to say that they miss eating dinner with their families at home. Busy times can get in the way of families being at home for a meal.

Let’s visit about why it’s worth making the effort to have meals at home. Many studies confirm the long-term health, education, and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family. Home-cooked meals nourish the spirit, brain, and health of all family members. Also, people who more often cook at home eat fewer and healthier calories. This is some of the best news - regular family meals are linked to: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits, and less risky behavior.

Use these tips to make it easier to eat at home:

  1. Set a realistic goal.
    You may not be able to eat together every day. And that’s OK! Set a goal to add just one more family meal to the week. As that becomes a habit, add another family meal.
  2. Plan when you’ll eat together.
    Mark those dates on your calendar. You’ll be more likely to stick to it if you’ve got a clear plan in place.
  3. Find the time and place that works for you.
    Eating together may mean fixing something ahead of time and having a picnic before or after your child’s soccer game. Ask the family for other creative ideas.
  4. Pick easy meals for busy nights.
    Do some tasks the night before if you can. Wash and cut fruits, veggies, and herbs. Store them in the fridge until ready to use. Use crock pots and other kitchen tools to have food ready when you get home.
  5. Get everyone involved.
    Give all family members a job to do before, during, and after the meal. Kids enjoy being a part of work in the kitchen.
  6. Focus on each other.
    Turn off the TV, video games, and cell phones. It helps set the tone that mealtime is family time.
  7. Talk about things that everyone can enjoy.
    Try to make meals a stress-free time. Ask fun questions like: What made you laugh today? What is something nice you did for someone else today? What are you looking forward to about tomorrow?

For more tips, visit: https://cookingmatters.org/tips/10-tips-better-family-meals

It can be fun and simple to create and serve meals at home. And it’s worth it because family meals make families stronger.

Adapted from: https://www.fmi.org/family-meals

For more ideas on living well, call Four Corners Health Department at 877-337-3573. Visit our website at www.fourcorners.ne.gov . Check out the archive of recipes for busy families. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.