Date Your Family at Dinner

My eldest at graduation... grown and gone so soon!

Since the inception of E-mealz, I have found that generally most parents fall into one of two categories when it comes to their approach to dinnertime. (This is a “generalization” so don’t throw tomatoes at me if this does not include you).

One category…  you grew up eating dinner together somewhat regularly with your family and you have a conviction to carry it forward with your own family

The second category… you did not grow up eating dinner regularly with your family and you  struggle to have a vision for its importance.

Regardless, both fall into this category:

It is a HUGE challenge to pull it off!

Even for those who grew up around the dinner table, things were different 20-plus years ago.  For one, there were far more stay-at-home moms. Add to that a much simpler lifestyle, fewer activities, fewer fast-food choices, and dinner was much more feasible. It just was. And I will argue that point in front of a judge if I have to.

Lack of energy, lack of time, lack of planning, or lack of vision. Regardless of the reason, the odds are against parents to sustain the will and conviction to plan and make dinner happen – regularly. I know I do.

Thus, we all fall into this category as well:

We all need encouragement to make dinner time a priority!

Even on the not-so-best-of-nights, when the conversation is flat, or everyone is mute, grumpy, rushed and stressed. Even when all you have to serve is leftovers and the kids are complaining, it’s worth it. Even when one of the kids gets in trouble and is sent to their room (door slam) while the rest of the family finishes eating, it’s worth it.

If I waited for the perfect night or for all the stars to line up just right, dinner would never happen.  If I waited for that effervescent feeling to rush over me every night at 5 o’clock to waltz into the kitchen to start cooking, uh, we would starve.

Sometimes in my household we (or I) fall off the wagon and I have to get us back on track and reinstate the family table. I get tired, tired of cooking, cleaning, being on my feet, and I just want to pass out crackers. I have to remind myself that, yes, we need to eat food, but more importantly, it is valuable time for my family that we won’t get otherwise. Having that predictable gathering, eye-to-eye connecting place over a meal is nurturing to my kids individually, but also strengthens my family as a whole. It IS worth the sacrifice I make, the energy I spend, and the determination I muster to make dinner happen anyway.

You may be a parent that needs the incentive to inaugurate dinner as a new and regular occurrence for the first time. Do it! Take the advice from those who did grow up with family dinner – it makes a huge difference. I know it did for me. Shift your view of dinner as an investment in your family instead of a painful inconvenience, or a June Cleaver outdated idea. And don’t make it so hard! An E-Mealz menu will give you the easy jump-start you need.

No matter what the situation, every time you make family time happen around the dinner table it will be a bite-size deposit that will go into the reservoir of love and connection needed by each of your children. I assure you with many other resounding voices from our E-Mealz community, it will be one of the best tools and worthwhile habits you’ll ever enforce.

Don’t let the days turn to years. Do it now. Keep doing it. Don’t lose heart.

Rally your family, regularly, for dinner – at home. You don’t need candles or cloth napkins. Just you, your table, and a simple meal. It’s a date and a family waiting to happen.

3 thoughts on “Date Your Family at Dinner

    1. Heather Brown

      Hi Jane,
      While we currently do not offer an organic plan we would love to expand our lineup
      and are always looking for new ideas/additions. Until then, you can use a plan and then just substitute in organic items. It should be very easy to do and we have lots of members that tweak their plans to fit their needs.

  1. Juliane Garza

    You are speaking to my heart. I found myself laughing and tearing with bittersweet memories of my own children (still 8,9&10) stomping from the table (doors slamming) refusing to touch the peas… but memories none the less. I just recently joined emeals because I had resigned from the kitchen in defeat and the clean eating menu was an exciting way to get back in… also loved the lunch menu. My excitement spread to the kids and this week they tried fennel, flatbread, pasta dinner w/o meat, jicama, wheat bagels… and many other new fresh foods, without an ounce of fight. It has been a wonderful week of mealtime memories. It’s SO worth it.

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