Happy Monday! I hope you all are well.
This week I’m trying a quiche for the first time. I’ve been wanting to make more egg dishes — even though Big A is still on an egg hiatus. I’ve also been trying some time-savers in the kitchen like making roasted veggies earlier in the day so that all I have to do is heat them up before dinnertime.
I haven’t made chicken enchiladas in a while so the next night, Tuesday, we’re having one of my kids’ favorite meals — spaghetti with meatballs. This is the easiest meal on earth especially when I cook the pasta ahead of time. I hate when I’m in a hurry and the water just won’t boil.
For more meal planning inspiration see Org Junkie. And don’t miss the last giveaway in our Take Back Dinnertime Challenge at the end of this post.
What’s Cooking This Week
Monday: Chicken enchiladas with black beans and guacamole
Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs with salad, Parmesan green beans, bread and fruit
Wednesday: Kids’ choice
Thursday: Make Your Own Quiche with fruit salad
Friday: Sweet orange salmon, baked fries and roasted veggies (made ahead of time) and fruit
Weekend: Mexican pizza
Salad of the week: Apple walnut salad
The forgotten reason for family dinners — Connection
A study presented at the Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference showed that family dinners are associated with kids who are less picky about food. According to the article in Science Daily:
The results showed that friendly interaction between mother and child instead of coercive strategies, like pressure and physical prompting, may encourage young children to try different foods.
The results of this study mirror other research that shows that an authoritative feeding style is linked to better eating habits in children.
What is an authoritative feeding style?
According to a 2005 study in Appetite, an authoritative feeding represents a balance between authoritarian (controlling) and permissive (let kids make all the choices) such that the child is encouraged to eat healthy foods, but is also given some choices about eating options. For example, with authoritative feeding, adults may determine which foods are offered, and children may determine which foods are eaten.
But I think the benefits of a positive feeding style go beyond eating habits.
The key reason a lot of us parents go to the trouble of family dinners is to connect with our kids. We want to have a time where we all gather and catch up on what’s going on. For those of us with younger kids, we are building the ritual — as kids don’t always do well at dinner until they are a bit older.
But if the family table is a negative place — full of pressure and hostile negotiations over food — we are missing the chance to really connect. And it just makes sense to me that kids that feel supported and free from pressure will eventually do better with eating.
I say eventually because a pleasant family table doesn’t mean a picky-eating kid will automatically start eating every food under the sun (it is a stage of development after all). I know this from experience. I think of it more like an investment — taking the time and effort until one day you can actually see the payoff.
How are family meals going in your home?
Want to create your way to meal plan in a way that works for you? Get step-by-step help in Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution.