Easy Family Dinners

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By Jennifer House MSc, RD

What do you struggle most with, when it comes to making easy family dinners? Time? Money? Or maybe it’s the frustration of putting in the effort, and getting only complaints in return?

There are lots of benefits of family meals for children. Not only better nutrition habits, but also better school grades and less involvement in “risky” behaviour like drugs and alcohol. Of course some of this as nothing to do with the food, and more about family time. Since family meals are so important, what can we do to make home cooking easier?

Cooking everything from scratch is unrealistic for many families, and not always necessary. Balanced meals can be simple! For example, cheesy scrambled eggs on toast with peas. Or refried beans and grated cheese baked in a tortilla and served with bagged salad. It may not be Pinterest-worthy, but it is cheap, tasty & put together in 5-10 minutes!

What are some other solutions to having family mealtime without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen? If you have older children, assign them one night a week to cook. They will thank you when they’re grown and out of the house!

What about the issue of complaining family members? I know how annoying it is to hear “this is gross” from one child or husband, quickly to be echoed by everyone else. Even if they haven’t tasted the food! To cure this, I setting family table rules like: “You will not say yuck.” Or gross. Or make rude faces! You can say “No Thank-you.”

What are your tips to make it less of a burden, or do you have other ideas to preserve family mealtime??

Jennifer House is a Registered Dietitian and owner of First Step Nutrition