Ask Nurit: Making Family Meals Work

January 6, 2010 at 21:20 | Posted in ALEX Toys | Leave a comment
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Dear Nurit,

It’s my New Year’s Resolution to get my family eating together more often. To be honest, our dining table serves as more of a place for mail and coats rather than a center of togetherness. Do you have any tips for making this happen?

Eating dinner as a family is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children. It will strengthen your family’s bond and encourage healthy eating habits. These days many parents find that sitting down together for dinner is difficult due to busy schedules, team practices, and a lack of planning. Here are a few tips to make sure your resolution is one you can keep.

1. Start with 3 family dinners a week. Set yourself up for success and pick three days out of seven to start, perhaps Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Be sure to pick days that are free from regularly scheduled conflicts. Let everyone in the family know what times and days their presence at the table is requested.

2. Announce meals beforehand. In a highly visible area, such as the refrigerator, keep a calender of the meals you will serve on family dinner nights. Ask for input the week before. Opt for fun, easy, family favorites such as tacos, casseroles, and don’t forget to include in-season vegetables!

3. Create an inviting space. Assign an older child with the task of clearing the dining table and setting the table at least 30 minutes before dinner will be served. Encourage them to get creative and make a centerpiece or decorative napkins.

4. Little Helpers. Make meal prep a family affair by allowing younger children to accompany you to the market to purchase ingredients. Talk about the meal as you shop. Invite older children to help chop, bake, and serve the meals. If you have a budding chef on your hands who would like to take over the planning and prep of an entire night’s meal, let them!

Good luck and Bon appétit!

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