It is hard for busy families that lead incredibly busy lives to find time to eat together, in between children sports and other activities. At times eating together may seem relatively impossible, but you can always find time if you make this a priority. In order to eat together you should take advantage of any time you have and sit down to have a family meal because this is important for both you and your children. Studies show that a family that eats meals together will be closer, healthier and happier. Additionally, children that eat together as a family usually have better grades, are more socially adjusted and are healthier. As a certified personal trainer, business owner, and mom of 3, I am no stranger to healthy meal planning for my busy family, as I have made this part of my daily regimen. Let me help show you how busy families can find time with these tips...
Table of contents:
- have family dinner time
- plan ahead
- start with a healthy breakfast
- avoid processed food
- add fruits and veggies
- lead by example
- go with the flow
1 Have Family Dinner Time
Despite your "on the go" schedule, even if you spend a half hour with a chicken salad or any other healthy meal (prepared the night before) you will find your children to be less stressed, have better grades and more confidence. This can all be accomplished by sitting at the dinner table and all discussing your day. More importantly, a family less stressed will be less likely to overeat. Now this is a half hour well spent!
2 Plan Ahead
If your schedule is chaotic during the week, between children’s activities and events, try cooking the Sunday prior a full week’s meals. Some meals you can prepare in advance are organic chicken soup, salad, grilled chicken (which can be cut up and put on a salad or on a whole wheat bun). If you plan your meals in advance you will find it second nature to grab the salad instead of driving to a drive through.
3 Start with a Healthy Breakfast
Yes breakfast in still the most important meal of the day! Studies show that children who eat breakfast have lower body fat, perform better in school and are in a better mood. So make some eggs, serve a low glycemic cereal, or a healthy protein shake for your child’s next breakfast and enjoy it together!
4 Avoid Processed Food
One major contributor to childhood obesity is all of the processed foods being consumed - so eliminate this. Rather than buying ready-made chicken nuggets for your children, make your own breaded nuggets and have the children help so they learn how to recreate this. Purchase whole foods to serve the family and enjoy together!
5 Add Fruits and Veggies
Make sure every meal has fruits and vegetables as part of it. And when your children are hungry for a snack have fruit readily available. If you only have apples and bananas as sweets in your home, your children will not be able to turn to unhealthy sweets. And you can enjoy a healthy snack together!
6 Lead by Example
Make sure you choose healthy meals to eat as well and avoid having unhealthy treats in your home. If you lead by example and practice what your preach your children will mirror this behavior. And you can talk about this topic while sharing a dinner together as a family! Healthy eating may well be one of the most important things you teach your children, and the best way to teach it is by example.
7 Go with the Flow
Dinner time may by 5 p.m. some nights, and other nights, due to children’s activities, it may change to after 6. Do not stress, but just be prepared to go with the flow. Finding time to eat together may not always easy but you can always make time!
Remember you are capable of finding time to eat healthy together as a family. With proper meal planning you can help your family to make healthy choices that will affect their weight and health today, tomorrow and for many years to come! And you will teach them a healthy lifestyle that they can pass onto their children one day! What will your next meal be that you eat together as a family?
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