4 Ways to Make Time for Family Dinners- Dean - WI

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Published on October 13, 2015

4 Ways to Make Time for Family Dinners

While coordinating after-school schedules, preparing lunches, tackling your to-do list and work of your own, it can be hard to find time for family meals. These tips will help you plan and stick to regular dinners with the family year-round.

  1. Plan Realistically: Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof method that works for every family, so develop a system that works for you. You don’t need to cook and freeze every meal for a month, unless that’s your style. Instead, try cooking all the meals for the following week every weekend. If you like to shop and cook the day of, simply plan what meals you want to make for the week ahead of time, then create daily ingredient lists to keep handy. The important thing is to not get overwhelmed. Use theme nights for easy planning (Monday is meatless, Tuesday is fish, Wednesday is pasta, etc.), and be sure to plan evenings out or ordering in to give yourself a night off.

  2. Get Inspired: Instead of thinking of making dinner as a chore, view it as an opportunity to delve into your family history or learn more about different cultures and cuisines. Ask your parents for old family recipes or look up some of your favorite recipes from when you were a kid. Look at blogs and cookbooks for fun, new ideas from around the world. Ask your friends for meal tips, or even get a group together to potluck and sample different dishes. Start a journal, Pinterest board or your own blog to save recipes for later and make notes on recipes you’ve tried (if the kids loved them or if there was something you’d change, etc.).

  3. Make It a Team Event: Create the meal plan with your partner, or get a group of friends together, and decide who’s going to tackle which dinner. Take turns grocery shopping so you can enjoy a much-needed break every once in a while. While you’re creating a calendar of meals, plan how the kids can help out too. Assign different tasks, like setting the table, assisting the cook and doing the dishes. This way, the whole family can bond, plus you won’t get stuck doing all the work.

  4. Enjoy It: Most importantly, have fun with family dinners. You’ll never be able to stick to a plan if you’re miserable. If you’re feeling really stressed or overwhelmed one day, don’t sweat it. Save the recipe for another day and whip up something simple, like cheesy eggs and toast and call it Breakfast for Dinner Night. Additionally, try to make the meal itself pleasant and engaging. Make a device-free rule for the dinner table and strive to avoid negative or testy subjects. Go around the dinner table and have each family member share a story from his or her day.

Now that you have all the tips you need to plan more family dinners, it’s time to get started. Add these healthy and easy-to-make recipes to your calendar:

How do you make time for family dinners? Share your tips in the comments below! 

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