With families increasingly pulled in too many directions at once, sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth the stress to insist on regular mealtimes together. However, the advantages of doing so a few times a week, if not more often, are more than worth the effort.
To no one’s surprise, home-prepared food is cheaper than eating out. And making sure everyone dines together is especially budget-friendly. When you’re shopping with family meals in mind, you’re less likely to give in to pleas for takeout after soccer, if you’ve already got chicken thawing in the fridge for a quick stir-fry.
When you cook at home, you can set yourself up with meals for the week by making a little extra. Portion everything out before serving; everyone has been guilty of having eyes bigger than their belly!
Of course, once in awhile you can justify the occasional pizza as “kinda-sorta” fitting into the nutritional pyramid. But for the most part, the convenience items your various family members prefer won't provide a reasonable percentage of nutrients and fiber -- or guarantee a controlled amount of sugar, fat and sodium.
Children need proper nutrition for their minds and bodies to develop properly in the long-term, and to do well on specific tests or team games in the short-term. Studies additionally show that, along with the physical benefits of proper nutrition, the emotional advantages of family dinners leads to better academic performance for teens who eat with their families at least four times a week.
You'll find more opportunity to teach your kids proper table manners when you’re actually at the table together, rather than running around, snacking on whatever is quick. And not only does family meal time mean you’ll be there to nudge their elbows off the table and remind them to put their napkins in their laps, but it’s a great time for all the adults in the house to model proper manners. That means not just superior dining etiquette, but the art of polite conversation as well!
Preparing family meals with your kids provides education opportunities for them to learn basic kitchen skills. And it’s also an excellent way to expand their culinary horizons by introducing them to global dishes and ingredients -- perhaps while also discussing those cultures.
Feeling Pressed for Time?
Of course, even if you’re determined to share a Shabbat dinner regularly, or to create one large meal that provides leftovers for game night, those marathon cooking sessions aren’t always feasible. Panosh Kosher Catering can fill that gap, either by providing fully catered meals or simply delivering a few dishes to round out what you’ve already prepared. Any of our options provide great ways to make sure everyone in the family has time to sit down, together, for that crucial family time.