Make Family Meals a Resolution This Year

Family meal doesn't have to be stressful! Try these tips and recipes!
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Family sitting around table, having meal, children (4-5) (6-7), (B&W)

Photo by: George Marks ©(c) George Marks

George Marks, (c) George Marks

It may seem like a daunting task, but there's so much to be gained from eating as a family.  It's not just a great way to spend time together; it can actually help children develop social skills and improve learning ability. A study published in 2014 revealed that the social involvement that takes place at the family table may reduce the risk of childhood obesity. But let’s get real – in order to get those meals on the table, they’ve got to be quick, easy and user-friendly. Here are five tips and recipes to help you make 2015 a year of delicious and healthy family dinners.

Tip 1: Make a Road Map

Sometimes the hardest part of dinner is deciding what to cook. Plan out a simple framework to help you decide what to make. Make one night vegetarian, another chicken, another seafood; it will make it less overwhelming.

Tip 2: Go Family Style

It may not be possible to have everyone eat together every night, but try your best. Whenever possible, serve part of the meal family style. It’s fun and adds to the feeling of togetherness.

Tip 3: Weigh In

Get some feedback from your family. Ask what they would like to eat – kids love to have a say. Make family favorites like soups, stews and chili on busy weeknights by using your slow cooker.

Tip 4: Hire Tiny Chefs

Get kids cooking! They are more likely to try new things if they had a hand in making them. Assign age-appropriate tasks like rolling out dough, sprinkling cheese, cleaning lettuce and setting the table.

Recipe: 50 Easy Pizzas
Tip 5: Don't Stress

Dinner doesn't have to be perfect, and there are healthy options that are faster than takeout. Breakfast items, grilled cheese and speedy soups make for crowd-pleasing meals.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Photo: iStock.com, George Marks

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