It’s no secret that people who eat more meals together tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and generally have better diets than those who eat most meals alone.
But did you know that family meals improve connectedness, communication, expressiveness, and problem-solving? No matter how you define family, you and the children in your life can benefit from shared meals around a table. But, many families report a lack of time as the main barrier to eating together. With these time-saving tips, you can let go of the idea that dinner has to be daunting.
You’ve heard it before, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I get it, just the idea of planning a weekly menu can feel overwhelming, and you’re throwing in the towel before your family even has a chance to get to the table. If you’re consistently deciding what’s for dinner within an hour of mealtime, that’s also very stressful and takes up more time! Start setting yourself up for meal planning success, and commit to only two or three table dinners a week. Give your family bonus points if you get more than that! But, let’s not overlook that more is better than never.
Don’t fall for the lie that your family needs new, fresh, Instagram-worthy recipes for every dinner. That’s blasphemy! The benefits of family dinners go beyond the plate. The food gets them to the table, and the magic happens regardless of the recipe. Take the pressure off and put your three recipes into categories: crockpot, sheet pan, and semi-homemade. These three categories tend to carry the least fuss with getting dinner to the table. Crockpot and sheet pan is self-explanatory. Semi-homemade could be utilizing a rotisserie chicken, air frying chicken tenders, and offering a homemade side, or picking up a finish-at-home meal from your local grocer that requires little effort.
It doesn’t take a master chef to make meals at home. If you can brown meat, your meal options are endless: spaghetti, tacos, and casserole galore. Kids love breakfast for dinner! Give your standard eggs and toast a boost and do omelets, air-fried chicken waffles, or sausage and cheese croissants. And when in doubt, cook noodles! Pasta is a pantry staple that everyone loves. Stir fry vegetables, add a tablespoon of butter and any leftover protein or seafood, and call it a day. Any time you feel the nutrition is lacking at dinner, offer a bowl of fruit, or a glass of wholesome milk, to provide more nutrients to foods your family is sure to eat.
Dinner time can be a chance to get to know the people you share a home with beyond the busy schedules. The connectedness comes from conversations bound to happen with a captive audience. Go around the table and let each person have a question that everyone else has to answer. Spark the conversation by asking what was the best / hardest part of your day, or share something new you learned or what made you laugh. This September, worry less about perfecting what’s on the plate and more about getting the people you love gathered together.
Sheet Pan Beef Kabobs
Sheet pan beef kabobs are an easy recipe that cooks in less than 30 minutes. You can ditch the skewers and bring the flavor of an outdoor grill indoors with these marinated beef kabobs.
- 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 ounces mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp olive
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp favorite steak seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients.
- Add meat and vegetables to the marinade. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 6 hours.
- Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Add meat & vegetables to the baking sheet in a single layer. Discard marinade.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.