It’s 5:30, you’re exhausted after your long day working, or from running around doing errands, chauffeuring your kids around like their own personal limo driver. The last thing you want to do is go home and make dinner, but you want your family to be healthy.
You start justifying your various fast food options. Chik-fil-A is REAL chicken after all, and fries are just potatoes with salt on them. Wasn’t there some kind of famine, where everyone was saved from scurvy by eating potatoes? You don’t want your family to get scurvy do you? That settles it, Chik-fil-A it is!
If you’re reading this with a roast in the oven and rolls raising on the counter, then congrats June Cleaver…go polish your mother of the year award. If you’re like the rest of us mere-mortals, here are a few tips to help you keep your family healthy.
MAKE A PLAN
Half the battle of making dinner is deciding what to make. A simple and effective solution is planning out your meals at the beginning of each week. Get your family together and take fifteen minutes to plan that week’s meals.
Getting the kids involved will get them more excited to eat what you’ve prepared. These don’t have to be three course, elaborate meals. Make it easy on yourself and find some healthy crock-pot recipes that you can throw together in the afternoon so you don’t have to stress about dinner at the end of the day.
TAKE BACK THE TABLE
There are so many benefits to eating together as a family. According to CASCA Columbia, a national public opinion research firm, students who often eat dinner with their family are two times more likely to get A’s in school, less likely to skip classes and one and a half times less likely to report high levels of stress. Children who participate in family dinners are 12% less likely to be overweight and 35% less likely to develop an eating disorder. So to sum that all up, if you don’t want a stressed out, overweight, idiotic child, then for heaven’s sake eat dinner as a family!
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Your kids will eat what you eat, it really is that simple. Following that same logic, your family will eat what is in the house. This is some really complex dietary wisdom. Are you ready for it?
If you would rather have your family eat fruits and vegetables over chips and soda, then don’t buy chips and soda. I know, that was a lot to process. Go ahead and take a minute to let that sink in.
Now, take a step further and make those healthy snacks as accessible as possible. Let’s face it kids are lazy and they’d much rather grab a bag of chips then go through the strain of getting an apple out of the fridge, washing it, cutting it… scratch that, there is no way they’ll take the time to cut it up. However … if said apple is already cut up for them in a Ziploc baggy, that lazy child of yours may just eat it!
As with all healthy habits, take it one step at a time. Trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle overnight will only result in relapse, and a bunch of rotting produce in your fridge. Make a goal that stretches you, whether that is making dinner twice this week or making dinner every night and prepping healthy snacks.