Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What are the benefits to setting aside a time each day to eat dinner as a family

Anyone that knows me knows how important it is for my family and I to sit down together each night and eat a meal together. We are a very "Leave it to Beaver" family. If someone asked me to list the most important things that are to my husband it would be just this. He told me when we were first married how he felt that sitting down together as a family around the dinner table each night would help our family be more successful and help us to have strong family relationships.

So let me just walk through a night in the Bendixen home. Dinner is on the table at 6:00. (this time has changed from 5:30 to 6:00 when my husbands work relocated) but lets just say that we have a set dinner time. So when my husband walks through the door at 6:05 he knows that we are sitting at the table waiting for him. We eat dinner as a family, discuss how our children's day at school was, activities they have going on, and funny things that happened to our family each day.

I will admit that with my boys getting older and having soccer, football, and baseball practice each week dinner time has become more difficult. I have found that if you are not organized this special family time can be taken away from you and those days and weeks that it does I can tell a difference in my family. So we have learned to adjust the meal time and have my husband home from work 15 minutes early so that we can still have this time together or have something quick and easy to grab and then have a late dinner together.

One way that I stay organized is by having a meal plan. I make a 2 week or a weekly meal plan and plan meals that either can be made in the crockpot or that can be thrown together in 15 minutes right when we get home from practice. I have all the prep work done beforehand so that it is not pure chaos when I get home. We rarely grab fast food or take out for dinner on week days. Having a meal plan and organization helps my children know that they have dinner coming at a certain time and what we are eating so that they do not just snack after school all night until bedtime.

On the weekends this meal changes to breakfast on Saturday and lunch on Sunday. (We eat Sunday dinner at my parents house every week with my siblings and their children) Even though these meals are not always considered healthy meals they always have fruit, vegetables, protein, and dairy involved. Having a plan helps me maintain balanced diets for my children. I am able to look on my meal plan and see what they are missing in their diets and what needs to be added. I also ask my children what they would like to me cook each week and add that to the menu! Here is a look at my 2 week menu for the end of this month.

2 Week Menu-

Monday 19th
Chef salad




Tuesday 20th
Fried Rice
Edamame
Chocolate Doughnut Spiders




Wednesday 21st
Wild Rice



Thursday 22nd
BBQ Pulled Pork
Baked Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Fruit Salad



Friday 23rd
Chicken Marsala
Roasted Veggies
Pumpkin Bars



Saturday 24th
Date Night

Sunday 25th
Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
Green Chicken Chile Dip with Chips

Monday 26th
Stuffed Shells
Mint Brownies



Tuesday 27th
Taco Soup with toppings
Fritos
Bread Bowl


Wednesday 28th
Homemade Salsa and Chips


Thursday 29th
Trunk or Treat- bring cookies

Friday 30th
Halloween Party

Saturday 31
Halloween- Chili and Cornbread






Here is a look at what I do to stay organized so that my family can sit down around the table and enjoy dinner together. I know this may seem over whelming to a lot of you but just take small simple steps and you will realize the importance of teaching you children healthy habits while bonding together as a family!

What are some ways that you bond as a family? Need more inspiration? Head over to Milklife for more ideas and recipes!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Milklife.com, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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