3 Key Tips To Encourage Family Mealtimes

The Philippines celebrates "Kainang Pamilya Mahalaga Day" every fourth Monday in September. This dedicated day proves the country’s commitment to the modern family unit. The celebration is primarily to encourage families to reconnect with each other, and one way to do this is by eating meals together. Family mealtimes encourage communication, bonding, and healthy eating habits. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait until every fourth Monday in September. The average cost of eating out is ₱240 per person, making it prudent to spend that on family at home. Here is how to do so.

Create a welcoming mealtime environment

An inviting atmosphere will likely lure family members to show up for dinner. That sets the tone for what could be a bonding moment for everyone involved. Have you wondered why you love to visit a specific restaurant frequently? Apart from the food quality, the ambiance plays an influencing role, which is something to easily replicate at home. That in no way means purchasing expensive decor to create a desirable environment. 

On the contrary, make do with what you have, and you will be amazed by what you achieve. First, unplug and connect when it’s time to share a meal as a family. A screen-free environment allows everyone to concentrate on the meal and each other. Remind everyone to put away their phones, tablets, television, and all digital screen devices. Doing this places emphasis on starting and maintaining meaningful conversations. Get everyone involved in setting the table as mealtime approaches. Even young children can help out if you delegate simple tasks.

Get creative with meal planning

If you’re bent on encouraging family mealtimes, you must be ready to up your kitchen game. Everybody appreciates good food, so plan to wow them whenever you must share meals. Having the same menu each week can get boring, and before you know it, your family members will give excuses to be away from your scheduled mealtime. Introducing new dishes as often as possible takes a lot of creativity, practice, and commitment. Bear in mind that even within your family, tastes vary. Therefore, plan your recipes around the kids and grownups. One way to get creative is to introduce theme nights to your meal planning. It can be ‘Taco Sunday,’ ‘Pasta Night,’ or ‘Meaty Dinner,’ as long as you continue introducing variations to generate interest. Remember to experiment with seasonal ingredients when meal planning. The advantages of seasonal ingredients are the freshness and quality they add to your dishes. If you want a delicious dessert for this autumn season, try your hands at the apple crumb pie perfect for fall. The fruit addition to this dessert makes it worth trying.

Set consistent mealtimes

Consistency shows seriousness and commitment to a cause. That is something to remember if you’re responsible for your family’s mealtimes. Sticking with a regular schedule will reduce or prevent missed gatherings. Is dinner at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m.? The more you alternate the hours, the higher the chances of absenteeism at the table. That shouldn’t be a decision to take by yourself. Including others’ schedules and what works best for all is important. Working adults in the family will happily factor their schedules into your planning if you involve them. These discussions will help you decide on a convenient hour range for all. Proper scheduling also helps in deciding what meals to cook. Some dishes take longer to be ready, so if dinner is at 7 p.m., you should start about 3 - 4 hours earlier.

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