With two teenagers and one preteen in the house, family dinners can sometimes be difficult to make happen. Extracurricular activities, homework, and other commitments can wreak havoc on a schedule.
Despite the challenge, we continue to make sharing family meals a priority. I know that busy schedules can make it seem too hard to have shared family meals. However, with these tips, you just might find that family meals really are possible more often than you thought!
Tips for Making Family Meals Happen
Be Flexible with Meal Times
Who says that dinner has to happen at 6 pm? When your schedule gets hectic, you can use healthy snacks as supplements to make it possible to have dinner happen early or later than a more typical time.
Have Everyone Help with Meal Preparation
Meal planning and preparation are such important life skills to teach kids. While it can sometimes feel stressful to include kids in meal prep, it might just mean that you need to relax and follow some of the other tips on this list more often. If you’re feeling less stressed in general, you will be more patient while making meals with your children.
Actually, believe it or not, cooking with your kids can be really fun! The more often you do it, the better it gets too, because your children will become more proficient in the kitchen. Double bonus!
Make Meal Preparation Part of Your Family Time
This goes right along with everyone pitching in on meal preparation. Spending time together during family meals doesn’t have to be relegated to only the time when you’re seated around the table.
When Eric was out of town recently, my kids and I worked to make a simple dinner of teriyaki chicken with jasmine rice and sautéed vegetables. Not only did we make some good food choices and enjoy our mealtime, but we also had a really nice time cooking together.
Keep Meals Simple
Meals don’t have to be complicated to be good and healthy. Some of my family’s favorite meals are ones that come together quickly. For example, with the meal that I mentioned above that I made with my kids while Eric was away, I cut up chicken while the kids worked on cutting zucchini and yellow squash. This meant that we were ready to cook both the chicken and the vegetables at the same time, making the meal prep more efficient.
Another way that we made our meal preparation quick and simple was by using UNCLE BEN’S® READY RICE®. Rice can sometimes be time consuming and you need to be able to keep your eye on it. However, with UNCLE BEN’S® READY RICE®, it was so easy and quick to prepare that we made it in the microwave during the last couple of minutes of cooking the other food.
Molly read and followed the simple directions, and we had fluffy and delicious Jasmine Rice in no time. Jasmine rice isn’t the only UNCLE BEN’S® READY RICE® option. They are also available in white, whole grain brown, and other specialty and flavored varieties. Plus, they cook in just 90 seconds!
Have Some Go-To Meals (and Keep Those Ingredients on Hand)
While it’s best to have a menu plan, sometimes things get crazy or just don’t work out like you thought they would. During those times, it can be tempting to just grab food in the drive through on the way to getting everyone where they need to go. However, when you have some easy, go-to meal ingredients on hand, your family mealtime doesn’t need to be derailed.
For example, since I mentioned the awesome UNCLE BEN’S® READY RICE® earlier, those make a great ingredient to have on hand for quick and easy meals. By adding a protein and vegetables to the rice, there are so many different meal possibilities, such as taco salads, rice bowls (which are so versatile!), rice and beans, and fried rice.
Create an Atmosphere Where Family Meals are the Norm
When family meals are just what happen at your house, then everyone will grow to expect it. Despite sometimes crazy schedules, we continue to make family meals the norm.
We have made family meals a priority because it’s a time that we all get to spend together as a family. In addition to that, we find that through dinner conversations, we have a chance to connect as well as talk about issues that the kids may be facing. Since our kids being in middle and high school, it can be easy to start being less involved in their lives.
This is definitely a time when it’s easy for kids to stop talking to their parents about issues, concerns, and the general happenings in their lives. We feel like sharing meals is a great way to continue to connect in those meaningful ways.
Ben’s Beginners™ and the Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest
Not only do we love UNCLE BEN’S® READY RICE® as a quick and delicious meal staple that even my kids can make, but we also love the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand’s passion for encouraging parents and kids to cook together. I wish I had known about UNCLE BEN’S when the kids were younger. It’s such an easy experience, children of any age can participate in the experience.
The UNCLE BEN’S® Brand knows that families that eat and cook together have children who make healthier meal choices. Because of this, the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand is hosting their fifth annual Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest to encourage children to get interested in cooking. Ben’s Beginners™ provides a platform for parents to connect with their children one meal at a time, and makes cooking an enjoyable activity for every member of the family.
This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. I received compensation in exchange for this post. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
What is your favorite quick family dinner? bloggers’ posts!
Join 12,000+ Other Awesome People
Subscribe to the Real Life at Home weekly newsletter to get our latest content, exclusive free printables, learning activities, and ideas for celebrating with your family all year