While coordinating regular family meals can sometimes be challenging, the benefits of spending time around the table with loved ones are definitely worth the extra effort. Family meals not only help strengthen relationship bonds, but can also be linked to higher self-esteem, positive social behaviors and higher grades in school for kids.
Check out these five simple tips that you can follow to improve the quality time spent around the table enjoying your favourite family meals:
Reduce the rush: If you allow around 20-30 minutes for family meals, it gives your children plenty of time to eat. They'll have the chance to try new foods and develop good eating habits. This also gives you time to relax, chat and enjoy your family. If you have a toddler who finds it hard to sit still for 20 minutes, let him or her move around a bit.
Think beyond dinner: Family meals can happen at any time of day, not just at dinner. In fact, many families find breakfast is an easier opportunity to eat together before the busy day gets underway. Not to mention, kicking off the morning with a nutritious meal is a great way to stay fueled for the rest of the day.
Opt for nutritious ingredients: Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner based in the US recommends incorporating nutritious ingredients into family meals to instill healthier eating habits for the future.
Be a role model: From table etiquette and respectful conversation to eating well-rounded dishes and trying new foods, remember that the little ones are soaking up your behaviors like a sponge. Children will reflect what they see you doing, so speak kindly, remember to use manners and grab an extra helping of veggies or eggs for a boost of vitamins and nutrients.
Rotate recipes: Keep meals lively by trying new dishes. Don't be afraid to change things up and get creative, such as starting the day the right way with egg's fun twist on pizza for breakfast that kids of all ages will love.
Sunny Side Breakfast Pizza
1 can refrigerated pizza crust, or fresh pizza dough (homemade or store-purchased)
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, low-fat
1/2 cup spinach leaves, chopped
6-8 basil leaves, chopped
4 t eggs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
* Preheat oven to 400 F.
* Roll out pizza crust on a lightly floured pizza pan; bake in oven for 5-7 minutes or until dough begins to slightly brown.
* Meanwhile, slice tomatoes very thin; wash and chop fresh spinach leaves; combine salt, pepper, parsley, oregano and set aside.
* Wash basil leaves and pat dry; cut into thin strips and set aside.
* Remove dough from oven; spread tomatoes over dough; layer spinach over tomatoes, sprinkle evenly with spice mixture; spread cheese evenly over pizza.
* Gently crack 1 egg into a small bowl and slide onto pizza; repeat with all eggs; sprinkle basil on top.
* Reduce oven temperature to 375 F, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are set.