How to Spend Time with Your Family with Food and Meals

Welcome to Plugging Into Your Kids from Direct Energy. In this series, we will share ways you can spend focused time with your children – specifically by unplugging from technology. We want to help your family make a conscious effort to connect with each other by avoiding electronic devices and enjoying some real-life interaction.

Eating is one of the most basic human needs. But in our current climate, as busy families with too much on our plates, we struggle to find those moments to breathe out, and come together to prepare food, and eat, together.

Too often a parent hears the words “I’m hungry!” and rush toward the nearest fast food drive thru to satiate their kids hunger. Try to avoid this response, and teach delayed gratification. Take the moment to teach patience, and for your child to learn that mealtime isn’t a speedy delivery, but something much deeper.

The simple ritual of preparing food can be such a nourishing time for you and your children to reconnect and ground yourselves during a busy week.

Using these tips, we show you how you can unplug from your phone, computer and television, and plug into your kids to enjoy food preparation and mealtime.

Making a Menu

How to Spend Time with Your Family with Food and Meals
Your children can get as creative as they like when creating their menus!

For those with picky eaters, there’s a great opportunity waiting to turn the tides, by inviting your child to create their own menu. Give them a little power, and watch their palette expand!

Start by sitting down at the dinner table, and writing a list of all the things your child enjoys. If your child doesn’t yet write, then have them draw pictures. Introduce a few other meals that they might consider adding to their menu, and avoid processed frozen meals. You’ll be amazed at their excitement by the process. Just the notion of sitting down and talking about food with your child is healthy, and lets them know that food is important to the family.

The Grocery Store

How to Spend Time with Your Family with Food and Meals
Your children will have a fun time learning more about all the foods you buy at the grocery store.

Grocery stores are amazing places to introduce your children to new ingredients, and to give them a little control as to what makes it home and into the fridge. For the child who is learning how to use a calculator, have them run around the add up the total of all the food you’re buying!

Try to shop around the edges of the store, as here is where the freshest ingredients live. Talk about the foods together. When in the fresh produce section, teach your child how to select a fresh avocado or cantaloupe. These are great teaching opportunities, and your time to guide your child into buying fresh food and making smart choices.

Invite Them Into the Kitchen

How to Spend Time with Your Family with Food and Meals
Make sure to help your children with those slightly more difficult or dangerous cooking steps.

Many parents avoid bringing their young children, or teens, into the kitchen, because of the mess that prevails! But what a missed opportunity this is.

The kitchen is a laboratory loaded with learning opportunities, from math to science to creativity. It’s a place where you can come together, connect and make something happen.

Use common sense when it comes to safety, and make sure they have an apron to keep their clothes protected. If you’re working with young children, hold off on using sharp knifes with them, but have them do simple things like kneading dough, or pulling leaves off the stems of oregano.

Simple things like having your children measure, wash vegetables, and pull out pots to cook with, includes them and makes them intrigued by the process of cooking. It’s a great way to share a story, and invest in their future of preparing wholesome, nutritious food.

Also think about how you’re creating the next generation of cooks and chefs. It’s important to show your child how to cook, so that one day, they can take care of themselves in the same way.

Set the Table

How to Spend Time with Your Family with Food and Meals
To save energy, try eating outside whenever the weather allows!

Eating at the dinner table is so important in this day and age. It’s the time when the family can exhale after their day, and share a story or a concern they might be having. It’s much healthier than eating in front of the television, and allows each family member to fully enjoy their food.

Start by asking your child to set the table. Buy some cloth napkins if you don’t already own some, they add a nice quality to dinner time. If they are younger, this is great job for them that will give them much pride. It sets the scene, and creatives a nice ambiance to enjoy your home cooked meal.

Clean Up

How to Spend Time with Your Family with Food and Meals
You can turn on some music to make clean up more fun for the family!

Clean up goes fast when there’s more than one set of hands. Cooking, eating, and enjoying food together, ends with putting leftover food away, washing up, and putting dishes away. Don’t let your kids off the hook.

Every parent, whether they work or not, works hard during the day, and needs that extra bit of help. Children love to have responsibilities, so show them they are needed by finishing off the meal by helping you out!

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