In our minds, the thought of family dinner brings back a picture of the 50s family gathered around the table feasting on pot roast and mashed potatoes. With the busy lives we lead we may not be able to make that pot roast ourselves, but we can continue to make family dinner a priority. In a recent Time Magazine article, the Magic of the Family Meal, authors cited the family dinner as a primary part of family life. The communication that goes on not only smooths family life, this article even went on to say it prevents kids from doing drugs! This is reason for us to be sure we have our sacred family time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html
So how to accomplish this daunting task? Here are several suggestions to make this a simple part of your everyday family life.
Start with a plan.
Be sure family members can be home together to have dinner. Making dinner a priority means some thing else may not be a part of your week. Include grocery shopping (and possibly coupon clipping) in your calendar in order to prepare dinner.
Include your family team in meal planning and preparation. During a family meeting, have family members request their favorites and make a list. Family members can partner to make meals and clean up after meals. With your chores chart, assign a night to the pairs. If starting dinner is a sticking point, make it a standard operating procedure for whoever comes in the door first starts dinner.
Families look forward to dinner and the yummy foods.
With your family list create a 3 week rotation of easy to prepare meals. Recycle your 3 week rotations in a notebook to reuse later in the year. Post the weekly or 3 week rotation on the refrigerator so your family knows the plan and chats about the yummy treats coming up.
Keep It Simple Sweetie applies to family dinner.
It is about gathering together, not culinary creativity. Sandwiches, breakfast food, and crock pot dinners are all great ways to get dinner done. Affordable healthy take out from fast food restaurants can be a part of the plan too.
Family traditions start with dinner time.
Friday night can be frozen pizza night, Sunday is Dad’s Grill Day and Wednesday night might be Breakfast for Dinner night. Our kids remember these times!
Your pantry should be the go to spot for those crazy nights when everyone is running late. Include pasta, bottled speghetti sauce, tuna and other staples that can be turned into dinner in 30 minutes.
Plan for leftovers.
Recently I read about a family who dedicates Sunday to going to the park each Sunday in the summer. Dad grills burgers, chicken and other dinner meats for the week, while Mom relaxes and the kids play games. On a weekend, double recipes and freeze half. Cook an entree that can be used in two different dishes, such as taco meat for burritos and later in the week taco salad.
And here are a few other resources too!
What is your favorite way to get dinner done?