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Not Your Average Family Dinner

May 20, 2010

When I was a kid, I distinctly remember my father insisting that family dinner was important – the best part of his day. Although I enjoyed spending time with my family – and I certainly loved my mom’s homemade lasagna – I must admit: I never understood what made it so valuable.

“But dadddddd,” I’d whine. “Why do I need to eat dinner with you when I live with you? I see you every single day. Can’t I watch my favorite TV show and eat dinner later? I’m not hungry yet!”

Despite my complaints, he reiterated the importance of family dinner, and my family and I spent the majority of our weeknight dinners eating together, as a family.

Now, older and wiser, I appreciate my dad’s persistence and the notion of family dinner. Although family dinner shouldn’t be a chore for your kids, it’s inevitable that the television, the computer and friends can easily tempt them to want to skip out on a routine, mundane activity.

Family Eating OutsidePhoto courtesy of Mel B. via Flickr

Spruce up your family dinner nights with these tips below!

Take it outdoors

1. BBQ. Host a BBQ for your family. Grill chicken, burgers, pizza and hot dogs (check out the links for recipes using Flatout wraps and FOLDit)! Accompanied with a large salad and chopped fruit, grilling out will take little preparation but give you a big reason to celebrate: having fun with your family!

2. Picnic. Take out the wicker basket and checkered blanket and prepare your favorite packables. Embark on an adventure close to home by going to a nearby park, lake or even your backyard. Pack board games and a special dessert on nights when you have more time to truly enjoy the picnic.

3. Cook inside, but eat outdoors. It’s funny that when eating outdoors, it feels like you are on a getaway – even when you’re on your porch! Spring and early summer are the ideal times to eat outside. Cook your family’s favorite dinner indoors and bring the final dish outside. Setting the table with a fun tablecloth will add a special touch. Eating a favorite dinner outdoors makes a routine dinner special.

Eat family style

1. Create a theme. Make an event out of the dinner, without doing a lot of extra work! Create a Mexican theme by putting fajita toppings and ingredients in fun bowls and laying out Flatout wraps on a fun, festive plate. You have now created “Fajita Night” out of what could have been “dinner where mom made fajitas.” Put on a sombrero and says “adios” to another typical night.

2. Too many cooks in the kitchen? I think not! Make preparation a fun activity. Give everyone a responsibility and prepare dinner together as a family. Young children’s responsibilities should be safe for them, such as setting the table or tossing salad.

3. Make it sweet. If you already have dinner prepared, use dessert as a way to make the dinner stand out. By baking a delicious dessert with your family or even surprising them with their favorite treats from a bakery or store, you’ll be surprised by just how far a sweet treat can get you.

***

We’d love to hear your fresh perspective!

  • What do you do to spruce up your family dinners?
  • What foods do your kids ask you to make for dinner?
  • What is your favorite thing about family dinner?

Bon appetit!

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