Family Meals Matter
How many nights per week does your family sit down and eat together? There are many benefits of taking time to eat together as a family. At the Family Dinner Project they cite research that suggests that the benefits of sitting down regularly to a simple nourishing meal together may help children in more ways than one.
Benefits of family dinners for children may include:
- Better academic performance
- Higher self-esteem
- Greater sense of resilience
Additionally, regular family meals have been associated with lowering the risk of:
- Substance abuse
- Teen pregnancy
- Eating disorders
Creating time for family meals is important and doesn’t require a lot of preparation in the kitchen. The key to preparing quick and nutritious meals for the family is planning. Having a few simple ingredients on hand will save you an extra trip to the grocery store and provide you the tools to pull together a meal without much effort.
Here are a few simple meal ideas when you don’t have much time for cooking in the kitchen.
#1) Chicken Dinner
Pair a rotisserie chicken with frozen vegetables and whole wheat dinner rolls for a quick and balanced meal.
#2) Italian Night
Use frozen ravioli and pair it with a simple side-salad and homemade dressing.
#3) Sandwiches & Soup
Keep extra batches of homemade vegetable soup in the freezer to create a quick and easy meal when you are tight on time. Pair homemade soup with a simple sandwich.
#4) Entree Salad
Top a homemade or store-bought salad with beans or a quick cooking protein like shrimp and pair with a fresh fruit salad and warm whole grain bread or rolls.
Start small with simple changes to make family meals easier at your home.
- Plan simple meals for weeknights and add needed ingredients to the grocery list.
- Divide the tasks for meal preparation among family members to make meal assembly easier.
- Keep clean up simple by focusing on one-pot or sheet-pan style meals on nights when time it really limited.