Make Family Meal Time Fun Again

As a busy mom of 3, I am constantly trying to create new ideas for snacks and meals for my family. I collect recipes and prepare a list of healthy options before I hunt and gather food. But if your family is like mine, someone is always dissatisfied with the snacks that I chose or the meals that I plan. I try not to take it personally, but fact of the matter is, maybe I’m in a rut!

In hearing their complaints, I started to think of ways to meet their requests. Instead of merely guessing at what they would like, I decided to include them in a few fun ways! Here are some family friendly ideas to Make Family Meal Time Fun Again!

1. Family meal planning. Family meal planning is a great opportunity for your family to sit down together and create a meal plan. Make this a fun task by having snacks and treats. Then give each family member a pencil and pad of paper. Ask each person to write down or draw snacks, breakfasts, lunches and dinners that they would like for the week/weeks to come. After you review each person’s wishes, compile a weekly/bi-weekly meal plan that includes each person’s ideas! Here is a FREE meal planner that can help you stay organized. There are also great apps available for your smart phone or tablet.

2. Shopping scavenger hunt. Now that you know what your meal and snack plan includes, it’s time to create a shopping list. Grocery shopping is not my family’s favorite outing, but why not make it more interesting! Divide the list into 2 parts and create teams. Challenge each team to gather their items and see who can race to the check-out lanes the fastest! On your mark get set……go!

3. Kids in the Kitchen. I am constantly looking for ways to have a little one on one time with each of my kids. Time in the kitchen is a great way to bond and teach your kids how to cook! Let them pick one of the meals or snacks that they have chosen for the family meal calendar. At any age, they can be helpful by getting items out of the refrigerator to actually measuring and stirring ingredients. You can also give them the responsibility to make their own lunches. I try to set a list of parameters to which I want their lunches to include: a drink, something of substance (sandwich, etc), a crunchie (crackers, pretzels, chips, etc), a dairy (yogurt, pudding, cheese stick, etc), a fruit or a veggie, and a small sweet for dessert. Here are some kid friendly recipes to help make kids in the kitchen a success!

If you want to make kitchen time extra fun for your kids, you can also get them their very own apron. For you crafters or seamstresses, the possibilities are endless! Most craft stores have blank aprons that you can decorate with patches, or fabric paint. Here are some great ideas from Pinterest. You can also have them screen printed, embroidered, or monogrammed from different companies locally or online. Check out these great items.

4. Themed meals. Another entertaining way to Make Family Meal Time Fun Again, is to have themed meals. Sombreros and decorative items that can be found on clearance, in the Dollar Bin, or at a dollar store, turn a new taco recipe into a Fiesta! You can also create themed meals based on the season, Holiday, or time of the year.

If you have been in a rut like me, these ideas are simple and affordable to Make Family Meal Time Fun Again!