These days it seems like we’ve lost the joy of gathering family and friends for a meal around the table. It’s likely that you either dine out or grab take out for the majority of your meals. It’s still a good thing for people to gather and get back to the very important time spent breaking bread together. Don’t downplay the importance of this tradition. There are many benefits of preparing meals at home.

This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank or spend hours in the kitchen to make this happen. Here are some helpful tips for planning a family meal.

Family gathering at festive table
Opting for quick meals

Even if you’re working from home these days, having to prepare a meal at the end of the day can be unappealing. There are lots of quick meals that are easily put together and prepared. Quick meals can even be a healthier choice as many people are mixing in plant based ingredients to their menus.

A meal like spaghetti and meat sauce can be easily prepared. There’s nothing that says you must make your sauce from scratch! Simply brown lean ground beef, throw in a diced bell pepper, and a little diced onion and cook until brown and the veggies are soft. Then throw in a jar of your favorite prepared jar spaghetti sauce and voila, you’re done. Add a simple salad and some garlic bread and it’s a meal almost everyone will love. You’ll be eating in about 30 minutes start to finish.

Don’t forget to include a sweet treat at the end of the meal like this carrot muffin recipe that will finish off things with a healthy sweet.

One-Pot Meals for Easy Cleanup

Cleaning up after a family meal is the worst part of cooking for most people. Even if you have a dishwasher, dealing with a lot of dishes can be a discouragement to cooking. Preparing one-pot meals will lessen the need for a lot of after meal clean up. If you’re using a slow cooker, you can prepare the meal the night before and simply plug it in the next morning when you head to work. Having a meal ready for serving when you walk through the door after a long day at work is a wonderful feeling. The fact that it’s contained in one pot makes it even better.

Bonding time with family

A family meal at home gives us actual time together. Get the kids involved in the cooking to make them feel like they are a part of the process. Make it fun. A restaurant is fun, but you’re never as relaxed as you are at home. The family table is a great place to have meaningful conversations.  It’s a place where you can actually slow down and enjoy the people with whom you are sharing the meal. Young children benefit by developing their social skills and manners while around the family dining table. Don’t forget, the number one rule when gathering for a family meal should be, NO CELL PHONES. Sitting next to one another staring at a mobile device is not developing any family bonds.

Set aside an hour a week if nothing else, to sit down and dine together as a family; no matter what your family looks like.

Family meal time can become the time that everyone looks forward to. Be sure to keep it stress free and don’t make it a time to air grievances; it’s not Festivus, y’all. Make it a time that everyone looks forward to. You’re family may not realize how special it is at the time, but in years to come; they’ll understand.


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