Why Eating Together is Important
Let’s continue our time together talking about Why Eating Together is Important. Healthy meals seem to be more common and more likely to prepare and eat when you are eating meals together in your home. We talked about the overview of Why Eating Together is Important and touched on the highlights of this topic. Healthy meals are part of why we eat together.
When you are preparing meals for your family, you look at ways to make them healthy. This is more common among families that have a routine of eating together. We all lead busy lives, and we all have so many commitments through the week, but when we look at families that stop and have a meal together, you see those healthier eating choices are more frequent.
Healthy Meals do not have to be stressful to prepare. If you just take time and follow a few steps, you will be able to have healthy meals for your family. The health of your family is one reason why eating together is important.
Planning for Healthy Meals
When you look at your week, you should not be looking at how you are going to survive; you should be looking at how you can make the best of the week. Meal planning is part of making the week work. If you take time and plan out your weekly meals, you will be more intentional on what you serve. As well as the importance of sitting and having a meal together.
There are so many resources available for you to use to meal plan. I like to keep things simple and easy to use. Here is the Weekly Menu Planner that I have developed that works great for my family as well as my busy schedule. It is simple, easy to navigate and all on one page.
The beautiful thing about the process of meal planning is that you get to see what your family is eating & how often they eat together. You will be able to see if your family is getting balanced meals and if spending time around the dinner table together is a priority.
Meal planning healthy meals will be more comfortable for you when you choose to plan.
Preparing Healthy Meals
I have heard over and over again people tell me how hard it is to prepare healthy meals. Also, they complain about all the ingredients that go into making a healthy meal. I have to be honest with you, and sometimes I do look at a recipe and cringe at the number of ingredients that go into the dish. Some recipes are a little much. When that happens, I just simply find a more simplified method. I move on.
Preparing healthy meals do take a little longer but the benefits out weight the prep time. I have found ways to take the meals that our family enjoy and adjust them to make them healthier.
For example, We love spaghetti. I use to make spaghetti with regular beef and regular noodles. Even though this is a home cooked meal, it is not that healthy. I made a few adjustments in my recipe, and now we can have a great spaghetti meal and know it was not bad for us. Here is what I substituted in my recipe.
- Once used regular ground beef 80%/20% and now I buy 96% ground beef
- I use one pound ground beef and one pound ground turkey breast. My family cannot tell the difference.
- Replaced the regular spaghetti noodles with 1/2 the amount of Barilla Veggie noodles and 1/2 the amount with Barilla Whole Grain. The veggie noodles are fantastic. I use them for several other recipes as well.
- When I finish cooking the noodles, I drain them and then I sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the noodles and toss. This coats the noodles well. By doing this, we don’t sprinkle the cheese on the top and use too much.
You can find so many recipes online and through Pinterest. I also enjoyed flipping through the book Eat This Not That Book. It was full of many ways to substitute your foods for healthier options. I grabbed my copy at Half Price Book Store.
I challenge you this week to make some adjustments in your meals. Add some spinach to your soups or use Chicken broth in your mac and cheese instead of milk. You will find, you won’t even know it is there or realizes it is missing.
Promoting Healthy Meals
The biggest obstacle that you will need to overcome is getting your family on board with eating healthy. Especially if you have not been in the habit of cooking this way. Get them involved. Promote healthy meals with your husband & children. Talk to them about why it is important to choose the food wisely. Your family needs to know why you choose to put less fried foods on the table and more foods with vibrant colors.
Let your family help with planning the meals. Talk through foods that they have tried other places that they have enjoyed. Let them feel like they are a part of the choice to change to healthy meals. If you promote this with them, they will own the change as being positive.
If you just choose one day to change everything that has been known to your family at the family table, they are not going to be happy. They will feel like they didn’t have a choice and this was not something that they had a part in deciding was a good choice for them.
Impact generations to come
Eating together is so important for the family unit. It brings so many positives to the table, but we also need to make sure that we are making wise choices while sitting at the table. Healthy eating is the perfect place to start when sitting down as a family. Make simple changes that will impact generations to come.