6 Exciting Ways to Mix Up the Old Dinner Routine
It’s 5 o’clock and you are dreading the same boring dinner routine. So are your kids. Statistics show that many American families, 75 percent, eat together at least four nights per week. But those other nights count too. While work and after-school activities do sometimes interfere, these statistics show that parents need to make it worthwhile for their kids and teens to eat at the family dinner table. Everyone stands to benefit from a family meal. Here are six ways to make dinner more inviting for everyone:
Try New Recipes
We all get tired of the same boring meals night after night. We have hundreds of recipes at our fingertips, however. You can use your smart phone or computer and pull up recipes for any tastes. For example, if you like restaurant meals, you can find “copy-cat” recipes online. Additionally, posting the weekly menu on the refrigerator will get kids to look forward to their favorites, both new and old.
Get Kids to Help Cook
Most kids really like to help their parents cook. Empower them by letting them do age appropriate jobs. Studies have shown that kids who are allowed to help cook, more often taste new foods. They learn about healthy choices and ingredients as well.
Order Prepared Dinners
Some days there is just no time to cook a healthy dinner from scratch. These are the nights when you can liven up dinner with organic meal delivery services. There are many to choose from. Some are pre-cooked and all you have to do is heat. Others require you to put ingredients together and cook before serving. Either way, you get new and healthy food choices without all the work of a traditional meal.
Eat Dinner in a Different Place
Who says you have to eat dinner sitting around the kitchen table? Changing the routine can be fun and make meals seem exciting. On warm evenings, take dinner outside and eat at a picnic table in the backyard or perhaps even in the park. Winter can be more challenging, but you could have a picnic on the living room floor if you spread a blanket and choose foods that won’t be too messy.
Mix up Menus
In many homes, spaghetti is always served with meatballs. Perhaps you tend to serve steak with potatoes and chicken with rice. But, there are no rules saying you have to do this. Make lists of the foods your family likes in several categories such as fruits, vegetables, starches, and proteins. You can then let someone choose one food from each list to have for dinner. Or, if they seem to choose the traditional, you can cut the list so each item is on a strip, put the strips from each category into separate bowls, and pick one from each. You will have a whole different experience and can spend the time at the table discussing what you think about eating the old foods in a new way.
Find out what your friends are having for dinner. Maybe they have some ideas you hadn’t ever thought of or recipes that they can share. Better yet, have a meal swap. Both you and a friend make a complete meal for the family then swap them. It is a great way to switch things up and get something different. You can even get a group of friends together and each make several batches of whatever dinner you choose. Then, when you swap, each family goes home with several dishes, one for tonight and others to refrigerate or freeze for future evenings.
Eating together as a family is important and has been shown to help kids eat more fruits and vegetables and increase toddlers vocabularies. School age children get better grades while teens are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs. Making dinner fun again will encourage kids to want to eat as a family. You will also be happier and it is likely that everyone will eat healthier too.