Making time to create healthy family meals can be challenging, but research shows the importance of family meals in child development. Modeling good eating habits and shared conversation are just two of the many benefits of taking time to come together over a meal.
Make family meals a priority. Serving homemade meals are vital in reinforcing healthy eating habits. Family meals provide an opportunity for family members to come together, strengthen ties and build better relationships. Kids who eat family meals tend to eat a wider variety of foods and become less picky eaters.
Ditch the processed snacks. Prep celery, carrots, sweet peas, jicama and other vegetables in containers or bags that are easy to see. Have fruits, nuts and seeds, cheese, and nut butters available to make snacking easy and healthy.
Batch and Stash. Batch cooking is great for dinner meals and can be done ahead of time for easy dinners. Make extra food to freeze to save for days that are busy.
Reuse Leftovers. Don’t let your leftovers go to waste! Leftovers are great to create new meals fast. Have extra rice? Transform into fried rice with vegetables. Leftover chicken? Makes into chicken soup or add beans and make burritos.
Soak and Save. Whole grains and beans are more affordable but take longer to cook. Prep whole grains and beans ahead of time by soaking them in the morning. They take less time to cook and will be ready to cook when you get home from work.
Share the Work. Having children help you preparing meals gives them the tools they will need to prepare their own food and create a time to connect. Children who help in meal preparation are shown to be more likely to eat and enjoy that meal.