Of all the things I mentioned from my resolutions for this year, I was most surprised by the reader interest on one of my goals: restoring the sanctity of family meals. 2017 was obviously a year of change for us, and one of those smaller changes was that I had to do away with nap time. The time change was brutal at first, it was three hours later here. The boys were trying to nap every morning at 11:00 am for almost two months, and wanted to go to bed at 10:00 pm as opposed to their 7:00 pm bedtime. I still don’t understand that math? So, I declared this summer we’d spend our days at the pool enjoying a perfect Portland summer instead of taking a daily nap. This all went really well until 5 pm every.single.day.
The window of time for making dinner was small, tension filled, exhausting. Then, the period of time when we hastily scarfed down our meals was even worse! Up until this point, our meal times had always been chilled out. This was pure chaos, screaming, hungry, mad, exhausted emotions flaring. I knew things had to change. I want to enjoy this time with my family, and this part of our daily lives was anything but enjoyable.
With this in mind, I thought I would share today so of the strategies I’ve put into place to make meal times more peaceful and enjoyable in our family.
For starters, I have been focused on simplifying meal prep in general. Crock pot, instant pot, sheet dinners, etc. I’ve also started letting my kids have one small snack and watch a show while I prep whatever we are going to eat for dinner.
Stay inspired in the kitchen by checking out gorgeous cookbooks from your library and/or reading Sally Clarkson’s book, The Lifegiving Table.
Offer one thing you know everyone loves at each meal, pair it with delicious foods.
Have questions ready to ask. “What was your favorite part of your day?” is always a favorite of mine. This helps dinner conversation flow!
We read books over lunch, too!
Try themed meals, like football night or burger night. Somehow adding “night” to anything really spices things up!
Have everyone contribute something to the clean up process.
My Meal Plan For The Week-
Monday night– Football Fare. I’m making healthy *baked* wings with veggies!
Tuesday night– Gnocchi night. Gnocchi cooked to packet instructions, drain the water and put into a casserole dish. Cover with marinara sauce and top with mozzarella. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes until the cheese melts!
Wednesday night- DATE NIGHT! My kids get dino nuggets
Thursday night- Orange glazed pork chops with mashed potatoes
Friday night- Burgers and family movie night