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The Life-Changing Importance of Family Meal Time (And How to Make It Happen)

Importance Of Family Meal Time | Dogtown Pizza

Life is busy. Between running around from your kids’ after-school activities to just trying to make it home after sitting in rush hour traffic, things can get stressful quickly. To combat the stress and chaos of the daily grind, it’s more important now than ever to sit down for a meal with our families. Why? Turns out, family meal time on a regular basis has a whole slew of life-changing benefits for everyone involved.

Families That Eat Together Grow Stronger Together

It might sound surprising, but eating meals as a family is an almost fool-proof way to strengthen that bond. It makes for happier, healthier, well-rounded children and deeper relationships.

According to a survey done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, eating at home as a family is linked to kids who are not only happier and healthier but are also way less likely to get involved with risky behavior such as experimenting with alcohol and drugs later on in life.

The same survey also indicated that children who ate regular family dinners (5-7 times a week) reported a stronger relationship with their parents as well as getting better grades.

Powerful, right? But it makes sense.

If the car ride spent dashing between practices and classes is the only opportunity you have to chat with your kids, chances are you’re not spending as much quality time with them as you could be.

Purposefully sitting down together as a family over a daily occurrence like dinner gives you the opportunity to go beyond “checking in”. It allows you to unwind together, to sit face-to-face with loved ones, and to develop authentic, personal relationships by conversing, laughing, and taking a deep interest in what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Family meal time could be the key to a happier family life overall.

Enjoy All-Natural Dogtown Pizza for Dinner

Our Cheese, Sausage, Veggie, and Tomato Basil Garlic varieties meet the Whole Foods standard for clean eating.

How to Make Family Meal Time Happen

We get it—life is busy. Trying to make family meal time a priority is challenging, especially as families grow more and more mobile, and the day-to-day rush of life proves more and more stressful. Even if you understand the benefits of sitting down with your family for dinner, making it happen is another story entirely. But it IS possible to make it happen. Follow our tips for getting more family meal time into your life without losing your mind.

Pencil it in

Schedule in your family meal times like you would schedule anything else. If you’re not ready to make family meal time an every night thing, then start small. Maybe Jack has soccer on Tuesdays and Jane has dance on Thursdays. So make a note that Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will be your family meal days. If eating out is more your thing, schedule it for Friday night as a fun end-of-week treat.

Get everyone involved

Don’t let the responsibility fall solely to one person (you) to make dinner happen. Involve your spouse and kiddos in meal planning. Designate responsibilities. Your kids can chop vegetables, turn on the oven, or set the table. This is another opportunity for you all to spend a little extra time together as well. And don’t let anyone scamper off once the meal is done, either! Again, designate family members to clear the table, wash the dishes, dry them and put them away. Either way you slice it, find a routine that works for you and doesn’t leave anyone hanging with the brunt of the work. You don’t want family meal time to be more stressful than it needs to be.

Cut out the distractions

Turn off the TV. Ban the mobile devices. This is your time as a family and all the other stuff can wait.

Cut yourself some slack

Sitting down for a meal as a family doesn’t require perfection. It just requires effort. You don’t need to slave away over a 3-course home cooked meal complete with dessert. Now, if you have time for that, awesome! And, what time is dinner? (We’re free at 7 pm)

Most of us struggle just to figure out what to eat that evening, hence why a spin through the drive-thru is so appealing. So give yourself a break. We have a few ideas on how you can make getting dinner on the table as easy and possible.

Put the crockpot to work. The beauty of the crockpot is that you can throw all of your ingredients in there before you leave for work, and you’ll have a delicious, home cooked meal by the time you get home. Boom.

Keep frozen pizzas on hand. Did you know? Our Dogtown Pizza Naturals line meets the all-natural, clean-food standards established by Whole Foods. That means our Cheese, Tomato Basil Garlic, Veggie, and Sausage Pizzas are filler, preservative, HFC, and MSG-free. By having any of these stocked up in your freezer, you can guarantee that a nutritious, delicious family meal is never compromised by a busy day.

Frozen vegetables can be a lifesaver. Fun fact about your standard bag of frozen vegetables: they’re flash frozen at the peak of freshness. Just like our pizzas, flash freezing locks in all of the taste and nutrients a vegetable has to offer. So ditch the canned stuff and stock up on your favorite frozen veggies and throw them into stir-fries, casseroles, and crockpot dishes in a jiffy.

Try breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon are beyond easy to whip up in a flash. And who doesn’t love flipping a traditional breakfast meal on its head by eating it for dinner? Your kids will be delighted.

Switch it up. Maybe dinner just isn’t feasible. So switch it up—make it a Saturday and/or Sunday morning brunch. Sit down for breakfast. Quality time is quality time.

Above All, Have Fun With It

When you shift your perspective from making mealtime just another an obligation to making it an opportunity to have regular quality time with your family, there’s no reason not to have fun with it. Experiment with new recipes. Challenge your kids to make a meal all on their own. Have a weekly themed night, like a pizza party or Italian night. Make a game out of cleaning up the kitchen. You’ll find that your family life, and the overall lives of everyone in it, will thrive because of it.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I like your advice to schedule your family meal times like you’d do for other activities, whether it’s once a week or daily. If you don’t have time to cook a nice dinner, it would probably be a good idea to find a restaurant that offers meals that everyone in your family can enjoy, such as pizza. When choosing one, it would probably be a good idea to pick somewhere that is located near your home so that everyone can easily get together to enjoy the food.

  2. I like your suggestion to decide that certain nights are when everyone is going to get together and eat a meal with each other. My family is pretty busy, and I want to make sure that everyone is interacting with everyone else, and it would be lots of fun to go out to eat together at least once. We’ll have to find a pizza place to go to and start this tradition.

  3. You make a great point that life is extremely busy with kids and sitting down to eat dinner as a family is extremely important. The fact that pizza is easy and fun to eat together as a family is a great benefit because when you are able to eat dinner around the table as a family you will become closer as a family. I think it would be great to sit down and eat with my daughters every day of the week.

  4. I like that you said that sitting down for a meal as a family doesn’t require perfection. My family and I are trying to eat together more, but we all always seem to be so busy and can’t schedule the time together. I think it would be smart to block out our schedule and make time or make sure to have something like a pizza night every night since we all love pizza and would probably make time to do that just so we could spend more time together.

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