Do you feel like you’re always rushing to throw dinner together? And when you do sit down your kids are done in minutes? Do you wish you could slow down and enjoy each other more?
You are not alone. Everyone knows it’s important to have quality family time each night, but sometimes it’s tough to make it happen. So, here are some suggestions to start your ritual of new and improved family dinners:
Make Dinner a Priority
First, get everyone involved in planning, shopping and cooking dinner. When your children have a say and like what they eat, chances are they’ll eat more and you’ll enjoy your meal more too. Here are some of our favorites:
Make your own pizza – buy pizza dough or ready-made crusts, tomato sauce, your favorite shredded cheese and all the toppings. Each family member can customize his or her own (or at least half) pizza.
Tacos – whether traditional hard shell beef, soft shell chicken or fish tacos, almost everyone loves this tasty dinner. Plus, you can get all four food groups in one entrée.
Pasta and meatballs – an oldie but a goodie. To save time, you can purchase ready-made meatballs and have dinner on the table in 15 minutes.
Kabobs – everyone can make a skewer with his or her choice of meat, veggies and maybe even fruit. Consider chicken, peppers and pineapple for example. Grill or cook in the oven.
Breakfast for dinner – most kids enjoy pancakes, French toast, eggs and bacon for a special dinner, especially if there’s little time for a big breakfast on the weekends.
No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.
To encourage everyone in your family to share, decide on a question that everyone at the table must answer. It will give each family member a chance to tell something about himself or herself. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What’s your favorite thing about the person sitting to your right? Why?
- If you could pick any career in the world, regardless of age or ability, what would it be? Why?
- If the house was on fire and you could save just one of your possessions, what would it be?
- If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be and why?
- If you could give the person to your left a superpower, what would it be? Why?
- What’s something you have seen, heard, experienced this week that touched you?
- What’s your favorite thing about your life right now? Why?