“We have reduced eating to sitting alone and shoveling it in.” -anthropologist Robin Fox
How important is a family meal? Very important, according to a report by TIME magazine.
The statistics are clear: Kids who dine with their folks are healthier, happier and better students.
It’s especially significant during the teen years (and arguably, the hardest period of life to make it happen).
Are you experiencing the magic of family meals?
Or is each person coming and going food-court style, TV blaring?
If you’re more scattered than together, don’t despair. This post features some fun ideas to help your family reunite over food.
Project: Fully Engage at the Family Table
Enjoying a meal doesn’t have to be hard work. During the week, we use a pretty minimalist menu, serving only simple recipes. When we don’t have time to cook, we still sit down together – eating pizza, cereal or my favorite, GYO (get your own).
If you want to add some adventure to your next family meal, try these ideas from epic bloggers Corbett Barr and Joshua Becker.
1. Serve a meal in courses
From Corbett Barr of Think Traffic
“When I look at the most enjoyable times in my life, many of them involve meals with friends and family. Too often, we rush through meals without having real conversation and bonding.”
Serving a meal in courses rocks because:
- It takes longer. You will have time to really talk as a family and get past surface-level conversations.
- The process can include the whole family. Come up with an idea, cook together, serve together, eat together and clean together.
When you sit down to eat, turn off all distractions and really have a conversation. No TV, no telephone, no texting.
Melissa’s minimalist course ideas:
- Appetizer: Cheese, whole grain crackers and grapes
- Soup: Cream of mushroom soup
- Entree: Marinated chicken breast, green beans
- Dessert: Chocolate pudding
2. Twist on a Family Favorite
From Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist
Can you be a minimalist with kids? Yes, and the Beckers are living proof. The family of four stopped using a dishwasher and believes possessions do not equal joy. For dinner, Becker recommends grilled pizza:
“This is one of our family’s favorite dinners. As a matter of fact, it continues to come up in conversations even months after the last time we had it.”
- a grill
- pizza dough
- olive oil
- pizza toppings
- flare for a fun little mess
- To cook pizza over a gas grill, check out these step-by-step instructions. Cooking over charcoal will follow the same principles.
Tip: Let each family member make their own pie. You will be surprised at how much flavor a little fire will add. You’ll also love every messy bite of your dinner… and the conversation around the table, too.
Ready to cast a spell on your family meals?
The most important ingredient is making time to connect as a group. Use those moments to teach your kids how to:
- be present
- treat others with respect
- place value on the food they eat
- try new things
- communicate, freely
If your schedule is too full to have regular mealtimes, cut activities and commitments, pronto. Regular time together is so precious.
The icing in the cake.
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Photos by 27147, bubbo.etsy.com and thebittenword.com