Let’s Make Family Meals Month a Year-Round Event
National Family Meals Month is officially celebrated in September. Headed up by the FMI Foundation, the “holiday” began as a movement to help bring families together to share a meal at least once a month. (After all, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s hard to get everybody together in one place — at the same time — for a family meal.)
At Food Town, we believe most of the best stuff happens around the family table. In fact, studies have shown that, when families eat together, the food they eat tends to have a higher nutritional value — and those healthy habits tend to stick with kids as they get older.
Not only that, but family members develop a closer connection when they take a moment to eat together after a busy day. For those reasons — and so many more — we’re on a mission to encourage our friends and neighbors to gather ‘round for meals together not just during Family Meals Month, but all year long.
Here are a few simple ways you can encourage your family to participate in and enjoy meals together:
- Find recipes that are fun and easy — and let the kids cook. Little hands love to help, and you can easily scale tasks up or down, depending on your children’s ages. Whether they’re washing or chopping produce, helping to add ingredients and stir or even gaining experience using the oven or stove, they’ll be thrilled to play an active role in mealtime. (Of course, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them, just to ensure everybody stays safe!)
- Encourage the family to expand their palates by trying new foods from the international aisle. Make a list of different foods and/or recipes that your family hasn’t tried, and then go down the list until you’ve made them all. Making mealtime an adventure is a fun way to interact together and experience new things through food. It’s a great conversation starter, too!
- Allow your children to pick items they’re interested in at your local Houston grocery store. Including them in the decision-making process will help them feel included in meal preparation (and also give them a stake in eating what they picked out). This often eliminates some of the challenges associated with kids not wanting to eat what you’ve made. (Remember, they chose it!)
- Combine an adult-picked meal and a kid-picked meal, and then have everybody eat some of both. This is a fun way to not only introduce children to meals that have a more adult taste, but have the parents participate in trying kid-approved recipes that they may be surprised to enjoy as well.
Is all this talk of added meal prep making you a bit anxious? It shouldn’t! Remember, neighbors, National Family Meal Month is about bringing people together, not piling more work onto your plate. There are all sorts of simple recipes out there that don’t just taste great, but pack a nutritional punch, too. Here are some handy suggestions:
- Put Your Kitchen Equipment to Good Use: Slow cookers and air fryers are great options for busy families on the go. Grab and prep your ingredients ahead of time and combine them when the time is right. Whether your meal cooks on low all day long, or you’re popping it in to air fry for a few minutes before the family sits down, the end result is sure to be tasty — without taking up a ton of time!
- Opt for Frozen Eats: Your neighborhood grocery’s freezer section offers a wealth of easy meal options. Whether you’re picking up a pizza you can pop in and eat immediately, or you’d prefer to personalize items such as frozen mac and cheese or pre-made casseroles with added ingredients to make them your own, the options are virtually endless. Remember, friends, because the fruits and veggies that go into your frozen foods are picked and preserved at their prime, they’re just as nutritious (if not more so) as their fresh counterparts.
While it’s great to celebrate National Family Meals Month in September, this is one holiday that has real staying power. We hope these tips give your family some inspiration on ways they can enjoy some quality time — and fantastic food, of course — at mealtime. Be sure to stop by and see us at your neighborhood Food Town to grab every great ingredient for your next family meal!