The Family Meal

What’s for dinner? A famous line in every home, right? But more important than what’s for dinner is how are we eating dinner. Sitting down for family dinners is something that only 30% of American families do daily, but the research is conclusive – there are a lot of benefits to eating together, as often as possible.   

Here are some reasons why it’s important and some tips on how to start making family meals part of your routine.   

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With busy parents and busier kids, family time is more and more limited. Mealtime togetherness is a great way to both talk and provides a healthy, balanced meal. This doesn’t have to mean dinner every night – it can be breakfast or planned snacks, whatever works for your schedule and your family. But what is important is that you’re sitting down together. Regular family meals are linked to a lot of positive outcomes for children, most importantly lifelong healthier eating habits, increased self-esteem, and stronger family relationships.  

Here are some great bullet points from Ellyn Satter, a family eating and nutrition expert:  

  • Meals help adults and children learn to like a variety of food. 
  • Meals let everyone go to the table hungry and eat until they get enough. 
  • Family meals help both adults and children eat the amount they need to weigh what is right for them. 
  • Meals give a time and place to do the work of the family: Keep up with what is going on with everyone; help each other out, tell family stories. 
  • Meals keep food in its place as only one of life’s great pleasures. You pay attention and enjoy it when it is time to eat, forget about it between times. 

The research is conclusive – eating family meals has solely positive outcomes for children and families alike. 

But, how will you get meals on the table more regularly? As your grocer, FreshDirect can help be your solution to mealtime dilemmas. September, with back to school season, is a great time to commit to sharing more family meals. 

  1. Cook together – figure out the amount of time available before and during dinnertime. If it’s only half an hour, spend 10 minutes on minimally prepped meals like salads/wraps/sandwiches and 20 minutes gathered around the table, eating. This can be extended if you have more time; the average meal takes 22 minutes. Utilize activity cooking like make your own pizzas, split the recipes up into specific tasks for each family member and assign table setting, and dinner can become a much more fun, group-oriented task. 
  1. Use your slow cooker – if you have more time to prep dinner in the morning, throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and dinner is ready when you walk in the door. Don’t have a slow cooker? Prep the timelier ingredients in the morning, so there’s less to do when you do arrive home. 
  1. Buy Pre-Prepared Foods – here’s where FreshDirect & Foodkick come in handy. We have a huge assortment of options to quicken up the dinner process. FreshDirect Meals come in varying degrees of preparedness, from raw to heat & eat to ready to serve (like sushi and salads). Foodkick Meals are similar and can be delivered in even less time.   
  1. Take Out / Eat Out – as a last resort, if prepping and cooking just isn’t going to work regularly, you can always opt for healthier take out or sit-in restaurants. This option is the least healthy and less affordable one, but sharing meals is important enough to shift your focus occasionally.