Family dinners at the table…THIS has been on my mind for a past couple weeks. I do it in my household, almost every day. I do have younger children. I understand that it does get tougher as children grow older and have activities after school, but it is SO important. I guess I never thought that there was any other way to have your dinner. Since I was a child, even in a divorced household, we always had every meal we ate in our home at our kitchen table. Since my addiction of reality tv, I now see that rarely do families sit down together and also, a very alarming thing to me is that tons of families aren’t even feeding their children vegetables, that just blows me away!
Now, I’m not saying i’m perfect and I’m not expecting families who never eat together to start eating at the table 5 days a week, but you sure as hell can set a goal and go from there! Try two nights a week and build from that. Even if you are crunched for time and have to order a pizza, bring it to the table, it still counts! Here are some benefits from having family meals together (courtesy of WebMD):
- Everyone eats healthier meals.
- Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
- Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
- They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
- They won’t likely try marijuana.
- They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
- School grades will be better.
- You and your kids will talk more.
- You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
- Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
- There will be less stress and tension at home.
And here’s another tidbit, it doesn’t take super mom or super dad to do this. There are so many ways to whip up a healthy meal in a jiffy. I am a stay at home mom and also going back in school myself, so my schedule is super crazy and I still manage to get it done. Another fun thing we do every night at the table is a game called “Roses and Thorns” it’s a great conversation starter and a fantastic way to find out something about your child’s day that you may have normally never found out about. The game is simple, go around the table and each person states their “rose” or, best part of the day, and then they state their “thorn” which is the worst part of their day. Everyone plays…mom and dad, or grandma, or aunt and uncle…everyone at the table participates.
Here is a simple, healthy family meal that is easy to make. Combining lean red meat, brocolli, and tomatoes is a great way to get key absorption of iron and vitamin C.
2 lbs lean ground meat (you can use chicken, beef, pork, turkey) sometimes I do 1lb ground beef, 1lb sweet italian sausage
1 large chopped sweet onion
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1- 29 oz can tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic minced
2-3 cups of water
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Lawry’s seasoning salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Cook ground meat, garlic and onion in large stock pot or dutch oven, drain grease. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, water, and bay leaves to pot. Bring to a boil, then add uncooked elbow mac. Turn heat down to medium, cover with lid and simmer 20 minutes. Next turn heat to low or off and goulash will thicken.
Serve with fresh steamed brocolli and your kids will have maximum absorption of vitamin c and iron from combining the red meat and veggies!
If anyone has any questions about nutrition and sneaky ways to get healthy foods into your childrens’ diet, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org