The Family Table Part 2

As promised, here’s a list of suggestions of small changes families can incorporate over time to help start a regular practice of cooking and eating together and making mealtime a time for refreshment and family:

  • Buy some cherry tomatoes and let the kids help wash them. Enjoy together.
  • Steam or sauté some broccoli or spinach.
  • Look online for easy recipes that contain vegetables, legumes, or whole grains. These will be nutritious and the most budget friendly. Mark Bittman’s book, “How to Cook Everything Fast” is a great reference.
  • If you see someone at the grocery store with veggies you don’t recognize, ask them how they prepare the vegetable. Most will be happy to share the vegetable love!
  • YouTube offers many instructional videos for food prep and cooking.
  • Peel ripe bananas, freeze in zipper bags, and puree in a blender or food processor to make “ice cream” for a healthy dessert.

Chopped Dates and Spices small

  • Delegate the task of setting the table every night.
  • Make meal preparation something you do together. Kids that help prep and cook foods are more likely to eat them, even if they’re prepping foods that are new to their diet.
  • Have a family conference about the fact that dinner as a family is going to part of your daily routine. Older kids usually get used to fending for themselves, and schedule other activities during the dinner hour, but once they see that there will be a nice meal, and that there will be a chance to talk and express themselves, they can adjust their schedule to be home.
  • Offer fresh fruit or nuts for snacks
  • Refer to “11 Proven Ways to get Kids to Eat More Vegetables
  • Agree to a moratorium on electronic devices while at the table together. Set the example. Instagram and Twitter will still be there after dinner.
  • Don’t go it alone: invite friends to bring over a dish they enjoy, and share a simple meal together.
  • Make mealtime together pleasant. Don’t use this time together to talk negatively about things (or people), and save major disciplinary redirection for another venue.
  • Make a project of learning about another culture. Indian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian, Chilean. Get some library books or comb the internet for ideas on indigenous foods and cooking styles, then pick a couple of dishes and prepare them together. You may discover some new favorites!