don’t let the after school & work time crunch take a bite out of family meal time. . . food for thought from rainbow plate’s janet nezon:
Dinner is just one meal, so resist the tendency to make it the focus of all your “nutritional” energy. Healthy eating should happen all day long. Keep dinners simple, you don’t need to produce a gourmet 3-course meal. Try a simple entree and a salad, a quick stir-fry, sandwich or omelette for a change. Be realistic about what you have time to prepare.
Relax at the table. Be a role model by enjoying your own meal, and focus on making it pleasant to just be together. Use the time to chat about the day’s events and enjoy each other’s company. The most important ingredient in a healthy family dinner is … laughter!
tips for easy dinner prep:
- Plan, plan, plan! Make a list of your family’s favourite easy dinners to prepare and think ahead about the week’s menus. Knowing what you’re going to make will avoid the “what’s for dinner” trap at the end of the day. Make sure that everyone’s favourite meal makes it into the rotation.
- Shop and prep ahead of time. Time spent stocking the fridge, pantry and freezer with ingredients for your meals will put you ahead of the game. Make and freeze a few batches of soup or pasta sauce to re-heat for super speedy meals, or buy ready made high quality sauces, pestos and dips to pull out at a moments notice.
- Enlist the team. Give everyone a job to help with dinner prep. Kids can set the table and help prepare part of the meal, depending on their age. Everyone will feel great about contributing, and you won’t hear the dreaded refrain: “when will dinner be ready?”
q & a
Help! My kids are starving when we get home, and they can’t wait for dinner.
Try deconstructing dinner and serving the quickest part of the meal as an appetizer. Prepare a rainbow platter of fresh or steamed veggies and let everyone munch on that while they wait. They won’t even realize that they’ve just eaten part of a healthy dinner.
How can I make one dinner that will please the kids and adults in our home?
Kids love “do-it-yourself” meals. Give them the option of personalizing their dish to suit their tastes. Encourage your kids to get involved in the meal prep by arranging the meal so each family member can build their dish themselves. This works well with individual mini-pizzas, salads, rice bowls and sandwiches.
My child won’t eat tonight’s meal. Should I make something different for her?
Making another meal tells your child that you don’t expect them to learn to eat a variety of foods. Ensure there’s always something on the table that your child will eat, and don’t worry, appetites vary from day to day, and some kids just aren’t that hungry by dinner time. Respect your child’s ability to tune into her body’s internal cues. Don’t bribe or pressure your child to eat.
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about rainbow plate
Rainbow Plate is simple. We shine a spotlight on the inherent beauty and deliciousness of fruits and vegetables and make healthy eating irresistible.