Eating better as a family at home:
When I was a kid family dinner was an every day experience in our house.
My dad commuted to work. He left super early before we got up and was always walking in the door at 5:30 PM after a 60 mile drive to be home just in time for dinner.
My mom was a stay at home mom who was always busy with three girls and lots of church volunteering. She wasn’t a particularly adventurous cook but she did cook dinner usually 4-5 nights per week.
We had a rotation that was regular enough to remember it today.
Mondays were Spaghetti, which was boxed noodles and her homemade meat sauce passed down from her Italian ancestors. (She would make the sauce on Sundays.)
Tuesdays were Chicken Chattanooga, which was my least favorite concoction of fried onions, chicken and mushroom gravy. I still shudder and gag a little when I think about Chicken Chattanooga nights in our house.
Wednesdays were usually steaks in the winter or fresh fish in the summers.
Thursdays were spiced shrimp from the local seafood market. It was always one of my favorites because we dipped bakery French bread in the shrimp and butter juice. I swear I could eat a loaf of bread on my own back then.
Fridays we usually went out to the local Greek family restaurant. Saturdays were seafood or pizza out and Sundays were crabs caught off the dock and steamed on the porch in summer and homemade pizza in the winter during football season.
Dinner was simple, and a staple. We helped set and clear the table and spent time as a family despite sports and youth group activities.
I think the way you grow up can dictate the way you plan your own family traditions. In our home dinner is also simple and a staple. I don’t have the same rotation my mom did, but I do try to make it as easy as possible to create quick and healthy weeknight dinners. Our son helps set and clear and we all hang out together while we eat and clean up.
My goal for April was “Buy meals, not foods” at the grocery store. I got the idea when I was packing for a vacation and was given the advice to “pack outfits, not clothes.”
When I go to the store I make sure I have things on my list for 1-3 nights of dinners. I am in and out of the store a lot quicker and I am finding we have fresher foods, more leftovers for lunch, and less random ingredients filling our shelves. I will usually run by before work or on the way home and can have dinner on the table in 30-40 minutes most nights.
If you are struggling to get dinner on the table each night, try keeping it as simple as possible. Make a goal to plan your week and pick a number of nights to do dinner in the house. It’s easy to grab dinner on the way to and from sports, but it often takes as long to eat out as it would to be home as a family. My go to’s are grilled meats and sautéed or steamed veggies. I have a cheap electric steamer that can cook any veggie in less than 20 minutes! To keep from getting overwhelmed, pick a protein and Google or Pinterest what to do with it. Or go through all of those awesome saved “Tasty” videos you have on Facebook to inspire you!
Caryn Moxey is the owner of PURENERGY Fitness and has been a personal trainer since 1999. She enjoys doing anything outdoors with family and friends. She also raises 24 (she bought more) crazy chickens and loves to garden and grow apples.