Planning for Family Meals

Making time to sit down for meals has many benefits. It can lessen our stress, help boost our mood, and make everyone feel more connected. Research shows that people who share regular meals together have better social and emotional well-being. This is true especially for parents with their children.

Use these tips to make it easier to eat at home:

  1. Plan when you’ll eat together.
  2. Mark those dates on your calendar. You’ll be more likely to stick to it if you’ve got a clear plan in place.
  3. Find the time and place that works for you.
  4. Eating together may mean fixing something ahead of time and having a picnic before or after your child’s soccer game. Ask the family for other creative ideas.
  5. Pick easy meals for busy nights.
  6. Do some tasks the night before if you can. Wash and cut fruits, veggies, and herbs. Store them in the fridge until ready to use.  Use crock pots and other kitchen tools to have food ready when you get home.
  7. Get everyone involved.
  8. Give all family members a job to do before, during, and after the meal. Kids enjoy being part of working in the kitchen.
  9. Focus on each other.
  10. Turn off the TV, video games, and cell phones. It helps set the tone that mealtime is family time.
  11. Talk about things that everyone can enjoy.

Try to make meals a stress-free time. Ask fun questions like: What made you laugh today? What is something nice you did for someone else today? What are you looking forward to about tomorrow?

Adapted from:

For more ideas on living well, call Four Corners Health Department at 877-337-3573. Visit our website at . Check out the archive of recipes for busy families.