Eating meals as a family can positively impact both mental and physical health, but life can sometimes get in the way. Profile Coaches brainstormed FIVE helpful tips you can use to make family mealtime a possibility.
When you’re busy with late workdays, long commutes and after-school activities, cooking dinner and sitting down to eat as a family can be a struggle. But you got this! We’re dishing up some tips and tricks to make dining together easier because it has been shown to positively impact both mental and physical health. According to research, kids are more likely to develop positive eating patterns and eat healthier when family meals are a priority. Studies also show that you and your spouse will eat better too!*
So how do you make eating together a reality in your home? As important as family meals are, we understand that life can get in the way. Our Profile Coaches brainstormed FIVE helpful tips you can use to make family mealtime a possibility.
1) Variety is the spice of life!
Include a variety of food groups at each meal. Create meals with protein, fiber-rich starches, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and dairy. An easy way to do this is with a one-dish meal that hits multiple food groups. Give this Zesty Asian Burrito Bowl recipe a try.
2) Mix the old in with the new.
When you are introducing a new food, offer something familiar alongside it. For example, if your kiddo is trying broccoli for the first (or twelfth ) time, serve some tried-and-true green beans next to it. Another tip is to mix it up with ingredients they love. Does your little one love cheese? Give the broccoli a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
3) Have fun with it!
Make eating together fun for everyone. Do a round-robin game of questions that everyone can answer to create conversation. (Pinterest is full of ideas! Just search ‘family dinner conversation starters.’) If you have young picky eaters, you can entice them to try new foods by upping the fun factor. Create critters out of their foods or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
4) Plan it out.
Use a plan, but make sure it is sustainable for your life. Leverage shortcuts and leftovers to create a meal everyone will enjoy. A great timesaver is skipping your trip to the grocery store by using their pick-up service. You can also simplify cooking with instant pot meals, sheet pan suppers or using your slow cooker.
5) Build a routine.
Take a look at your family calendar and reflect on your usual routines. Is there a way you can add 1 to 2 more sit-down family meals to your coming week? Getting your family involved can be a way to do so. Maybe you and your spouse can share the task of prepping dinner. You could also cook recipes that allow your little helpers to be involved. Cooking with your kids can be a fun activity that will create memories!
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- Berge, J. M., MacLehose, R. F., Loth, K. A., Eisenberg, M. E., Fulkerson, J. A., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2012). Family meals. Associations with weight and eating behaviors among mothers and fathers. Appetite, 58(3), 1128-1135.
- Larson, N. I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Hannan, P. J., & Story, M. (2007). Family meals during adolescence are associated with higher diet quality and healthful meal patterns during young adulthood. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(9), 1502-1510.
- Neumark-Sztainer, D., Wall, M., Story, M., & Fulkerson, J. A. (2004). Are family meal patterns associated with disordered eating behaviors among adolescents? Journal of adolescent health, 35(5), 350-359.
- Videon, T. M., & Manning, C. K. (2003). Influences on adolescent eating patterns: the importance of family meals. Journal of adolescent health, 32 (5), 365-373.