4 Ways to Bring the Family Together for Meal Time
(NC) Between work and school commitments, it can be difficult to carve out time to sit down and enjoy a home-cooked dinner as a family. But spending this time together is well worth the effort. In addition to offering an opportunity to bond, eating together and engaging in conversation can have a deep influence on children. Follow these tips to bring the family together and build a lasting tradition.
1. Mark your calendar. Schedule a few meals each week when there are no sports, activities, or after work functions so everyone can be present. Research shows that children benefit when the family eats together at least three times per week. Reported improvements range from healthy eating habits to improved literacy and verbal skills. If three dinners is a stretch for your busy family, consider morning brunches or evening desserts.
2. Create a family-friendly menu. Integrate family favourites to create excitement around supper, such as Taco Tuesday or a weekly pizza night. Make homemade crust as a team and craft personal pies with fresh toppings like bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes. To further maximize time, create dishes on a weekend to freeze and thaw when ready. Try a simple tortilla soup that can be prepared in minutes with a high-performance blender, like the Vitamix Total Nutrition Center.
3. Turn off electronics. Make the table an electronic-free zone. Turn off phones and television shows to make room for face-to-face communication. Removing cell phones from the equation positively influences the understanding of social cues, facial expressions, and changes in tone, leading to more fruitful interactions. Unplugged conversations also encourage memorable family moments.
4. Have hands-on meal prep. Include the kids in every step of meal prep in a safe and easy way. Chop vegetables in the Vitamix blender for pizza, salad or taco toppings. Then let kids add these veggies to the recipe. Engage your children further by having them set timers and watch their meal cook. They can also help with finishing touches, like tossing in spices and fresh herbs before serving dinner.