When we think back to our childhoods, most of us remember eating with our families. Whether it was every night, or just on Sundays, whether we sat at a dining table, or in front of the TV, most of us remember sitting down with the rest of our household to enjoy a meal. Nowadays, not having time to eat together is one of the most common things that parents feel guilty about. It’s normal to grab breakfast on the go, or for families to all eat different dinners at different times. But, sitting down together as often as you can is still hugely beneficial. Below is a look at some of the benefits, as well as some ideas on how you can make family mealtimes a regular and enjoyable thing.
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What are the Benefits of Eating as a Family
There are so many benefits to eating as a family as often as you can. These include:
- Quality time together
- You’ll encourage healthier relationships with food
- Your kids will learn about cooking and nutrition
- Families that eat together do better at school
- Eating together saves time and money
Create a Dining Area
Many of us ate our family dinners on the sofa in front of the TV. While this still has some benefits, it doesn’t compare with sitting around a dining table without the distractions of TVs and other screens. We’re more likely to eat socially, have good conversations, have fun, and share meals, if we eat around a table. Take a look at a Vidaxl dining table if you don’t have one already and think about where you could fit a table if you haven’t got a dining room.
Have More Casual Eating Spaces
Of course, not all of your food has to be a big sit-down affair. There are also benefits to sitting around a whitewash coffee table sharing cake and drinks after school. Having plenty of seating, and lots of tables for drinks and plates around your house, and even in the garden, encourages quality time together, even if you’re just eating cookies and drinking milk.
Stick to Regular Mealtimes
Regular mealtimes make it easier to create a routine around eating. Your routine will have to work around work commitments, school times, and your commute, but if possible, sticking to the same times for breakfast and dinner every day, even if it means getting up earlier, can be a great idea.
If you’ve got young children, you may have to adapt times as they get older, or as your own work schedule changes, but if you’ve got a good routine, simply changing the times shouldn’t be too disruptive.
Create Family Rules
Table rules are a great idea. They mean that everyone knows what is expected of them, and you can all relax and enjoy your meals. But the rules need to work for your family.
Rules like no phones at the table, and not getting up until everyone is finished are great because they encourage conversation. But when it comes to things like elbows on the table, you’ll need to decide how strict or relaxed you want your mealtimes to be.
Try Theme Nights
One part of eating together that many families struggle with is meal planning. It can be hard to come up with meals that everyone likes without eating the same five meals on rotation.
Theme nights make it a lot easier. Say Tuesday is Mexican night. There are so many great Mexican recipes to work with, and chances are, if your kids like one, they’ll like most others too. Theme nights also make it easier to try new recipes, flavours, and ingredients, especially if it’s something like pizza, or tacos, where you can add one new thing to an existing favourite.
Pick Your Battles
Eating together is beneficial, and fun. But you shouldn’t force it. If your kids have something that they want to do, like join a club at school, or eat with a friend, telling them that they can’t just you can eat together will cause upset and resentment.
Modern life can make it hard to sit down together every day. But finding a routine that works for you, whether it’s breakfast together on weekdays and dinner on weekends, or dinner every night, can be hugely beneficial for your family.