4 Tips for Fostering Family Meal Time

Living in a home where our weekday evening “schedule scramble” means simple meals eaten on the fly and often not together, my family has grown to love a weekend morning meal or long lunch that lets us spend some time together. We’ve turned weekend breakfast and lunch into family time, which gives us all a moment to slow down…together. Here’s how we do it:

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow-Cooker Carnitas

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. Using a slow cooker main like carnitas makes planning other meals a cinch.

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Make too much for dinner.

The key to fun family time centered around a mid-day meal is having great, versatile food on hand to easily enjoy. Last night’s grilled chicken becomes an ingredient for this afternoon’s quesadilla, or maybe pesto that completed a previous pasta dish can be used as sauce for a unique flatbread. When your family smells a meal worth slowing down for, you’ll see them emerge from their rooms to join you at the table.

Have a specialty.

Unsurpassed omelets, perfect pancakes, superior sandwiches… find your skill and celebrate it. More importantly, ensure your family finds your signature dish to be an unmissable meal that gets them out of bed or pushes them to put down their screens and make their way to the table. It doesn’t have to be complicated or complex, but simply done well, done often and done with a personal touch.

Sometimes you’re on the field… I get it.

If your children are engaged in weekend sports, you know all too well that your hours logged on the field mean little time for preparing meals in the kitchen. It doesn’t mean, however, that a fun family meal can’t happen on the sidelines. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic, and enjoy some quality time in between games. Your child will be the envy of their teammates when they aren’t ripping open a bar or succumbing to the snack shed again.

Keep dinner simple.

There is a balance to the amount of activity a home kitchen can endure in a day before it gets to be too much. If you’re looking to get everyone around the table for a beautiful breakfast or memorable mid-day meal, I recommend committing to a simple dinner. Ideally, it may be put in the slow cooker early on so that your afternoon isn’t interrupted with having to prepare another meal or possibly it includes part of what you prepped for lunch. The bottom line is that you’re more likely to take on bigger breakfast or lunch clean up when you know that dinner won’t have you doing dishes for hours. Besides who wants that on a fun Saturday night or simple Sunday evening?