Although family meals have remained a strong tradition in cultures all across the world, the practice is diminishing due to various technological distractions, lack of time, or low motivation. It’s important to remember that not only are family meals more likely to be healthy, they’re also a great opportunity for bonding.
Plus, table manners and social courtesies are often best taught to children at the dinner table. Overall, family meals will create a more positive atmosphere within a household and improve the moods of everyone involved! Today, we’ll be sharing ten handy ways to encourage family meals in this busy, technological era!
10 Try Out Themes!
Having themed dinners such as Taco Tuesday will help make the meal more exciting! Instead of trying to make time to get everyone together for dinner, let the gathering happen on its own by offering thrilling themed menus every day. If you want more options, you can simply dub Tuesday as Mexican food day, Wednesday as soup day, and Thursday as pasta day, to name a few.
That way, you can come up with several different types of food to rotate through for each theme. Not only will themed days introduce more variety into your family’s diet, but it’ll definitely also serve as an incentive to make meals and dine together!
9 Have a No-Devices Policy During Dinner Time
In today’s world, family dinner time often consists of the parents watching sports on the couch, the teenagers on their phones, and the little kids on their iPads. Although screen time is a good way to keep kids quiet, it ruins many positive aspects of having a family dinner.
In order to promote dining together without being sucked into the world of technology, try implementing a no-devices policy during breakfast and dinner time. The old fashioned dining around a table will prove to be a great way for your family to bond through discussing the day’s events and what they hope to accomplish in the future!
8 Get Your Partner On Board
With many family goals, it’s a good idea to get your partner on board so that they can help you coerce the children. Specifically, with family meals, it will be a lot easier if your partner is actively pushing for everyone to gather around and dine together. Have a talk with him or her about all of the benefits of eating together more often, and figure out what each of you can contribute to making the goal a reality.
Perhaps you could take turns making meals, or brainstorm breakfast options together so that you’re always prepared. Getting your partner on board could be the key to dining together as a family more often!
7 Be Consistent With Time
Like the other priorities in your family’s life, having a set schedule for mealtimes will make it much easier for your family to dine together. Not only is it physically healthy for you to eat your meals at the same time every day, but you’ll also have a better time forming family meal habits.
Start out by coordinating a set time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with your partner, and work to meet the agreed-upon schedule. To incentivize everyone further, you could even have a reward of going out to eat every week if the family manages to stick to the schedule!
6 Use The Holidays To Start Off The Year Right
Sometimes, starting a habit could be more tricky than sticking to it. If you can’t find a good time to start having family meals every day, try using the holiday season as the perfect time to push-start the new tradition. Since Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are for family dining anyways, try to continue eating as a family after the holiday feasts as well.
Use these holiday meals to get your family used to eating together, and make it a habit by treating every dinner like a holiday dinner. You could even set a New Year’s Resolution together as a family to dine together more often!
5 Keep Meals Simple
Many people dismiss the idea of a sit-down family dinner because they believe it to be too much work during preparation. However, you should remember that not every meal needs to look like a Thanksgiving feast! There are tons of easy, simple recipes that are both delicious and nutritious out there, and you can save a lot of time with them.
Furthermore, making some simpler meals will help you stay motivated and stick to a schedule! Some good options are one-pot shrimp pasta, baked chicken and veggies, one-pan lemon pepper salmon or make use of that crock-pot in the cupboard. Your family will fall in love with these simple, tasty dishes, and you’ll have plenty of time to prepare them for family dinners!
4 Have A Voting Session Every Weekend
Another great incentive to get your family excited to eat together is to take their input on what meals to serve every week. If the food is something that everyone loves and can agree upon, then you’ll have a much higher chance of coordinating successful family meals more regularly.
A great way to organize this is to have a family voting session every weekend to decide what everyone wants to eat for the week. Not only will this help with communication and family bonding, but voting will also help ensure that everyone’s on board to dine together during the week.
3 Order Some Takeout
No matter how hard you try to make time for preparing every meal, sometimes life just gets in the way. If you find that you’re not able to make even the simplest of dishes, don’t give up on eating as a family! As a last resort, have everyone vote on a takeout option to enjoy for a treat.
Munching on some pizza or chow mein is always a great bonding experience, and it’ll help you stay with the habit of eating together, even when you’re at your busiest. With the variety of current delivery apps available, you can also make healthy choices on your takeout in addition to getting treats such as pizza!
2 Keep A List Of Conversation Topics
In addition to scheduling and types of food, another factor that influences a family’s willingness to dine together is the presence of conversation topics. Your family will definitely look forward to meals together more if the atmosphere is bright and the conversations are lively!
In order to bring some excitement and interaction into family meals, try having a list of conversation starters ready and combat those awkward silences! Especially if your kiddos are a little older, these will help them enjoy their time and bond with you and your partner. Furthermore, you could also try having board games or family game night right after dinner to encourage dining together even more!
1 Make Meal Prep A Team Effort!
Lastly, making a meal as a family can be beneficial in a variety of ways. First of all, creating the meal together will definitely encourage the family to eat together as well, since everyone would be more than excited to try their creations. Secondly, making meals together at home is a great way for you and your partner to bond and learn new skills together without attending a couple’s cooking class.
Furthermore, if you have young kids at home, you’ll be able to find tons of recipes perfect for little hands to create that also doubles as a practice for their motor skills. You can easily divide up the tasks and save both time and energy on any meal!