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Family Nutrition: Making Time For Family Dinner

Maryam Malekian • MS, Registered Dietitian • Oct 05, 2011

Celebrate Family Time During Mealtime

These days, eating together as a family at the same time is not easy due to our hectic family schedules. Yet, as parents, it is important to know that eating together as a family gives kids comfort and confidence in their day.

Creating time to sit down and have a family meal doesn't have to be a chore. Find simple recipes that are quick and easy to make. Don't be stressed or pressured to make a formal meal. The most important thing is being together as a family.

We have some simple to implement suggestions to help you get started! 


Finding Time For Family Meals

Time Challenge- Time is certainly one of the major obstacles to families gathering at mealtime. The key to making a family dinner is to plan! Here are some practical tips to help you make time for family meals:
family meals promoting healthy child
  • Plan your meals ahead of time. Making a weekly meal plan and keeping your pantry and freezer stocked up can save a lot of time. Create a shopping list and make the time to go to the grocery store on a weekend. It will be much easier to make dinner, if you know what you want to make and you have all the ingredients in the house.
  • Crock-pot cooking. If you’re working late, check out some healthy crock pot recipes, or cook a bit more on the weekends and freeze meals in individual portions.
  • Make it simple. A healthy home-made meal doesn’t have to take hours. Grilled chicken and veggies only takes half an hour to make and is an enjoyable meal.
  • Engage kids in meal prep for family dinner. Children are more likely to eat better when they help with meal preparation responsibilities like setting the table or stirring a batter. Most kids enjoy being involved in the cooking process. Admire their efforts! Being engage in cooking healthy meals at an early age can improve long term cooking skills and encourage a healthier lifestyle.
  • Eat together at the table. It’s easier to talk to each other when you are face to face.
  • During mealtime, focus on each other by turning off the TV, cell phones and even iPods.
  • Keep mealtime a fun time for the family to catch up and share their day
  • Parents and older siblings can be a great role model for good eating habits.
  • Keep it fun. Kids can make name cards for their seats.
  • Keep meals from lasting too long. If your child gets fussy, let them be excused and take their plate to the sink.
  • Introduce one new food item at least 3 times a week.

Family meal time is also a wonderful opportunity to share experiences with each other. Children learn a great deal of eating habits, family attitudes and values when you sit down as a family. Meal time is important family time that will help your child in so many ways. Keep it simple and enjoy each other, that is what it is all about!










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Written by Maryam MalekianWritten on Oct 05, 2011Last updated on Sep 30, 2013




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