I was recently asked by a TV news producer “Do I have any tips for getting dinner on the table?” Two things ran through my head as I attempted to answer this question.
1. Do I share that getting food on the table every night is a real struggle for me too?
I was being asked this question, because this TV producer knows that I am someone in the Health and Wellness field who believes in the healthy aspects of home cooked meals. My mind quickly reviewed dinner this past week. Hmmm, I was away with my daughter for two of the nights, throw a karate tournament, dance class and a husband who had an evening business event all into the mix and the answer would be…ummm I’m not sure what my family ate this week. Maybe this was not the week to reminisce about. I know I have a tip…think Christine! We all know the struggle is real to get healthy dinners on the table when we are running around from activity to activity. I told her some nights are better than others. When I stopped to think about why some nights were a success and some weren’t…the tip was easy.
2. Wait… I really do have a tip Ok, when I took a deep breath and thought about what my tips would be to get dinner on the table I thought about my kids and the role they play in dinner prep.
Since I can remember I have always involved my kids in the kitchen. Whether it was buying food at the supermarket, local farm, or neighborhood farm stand my kids were always involved in picking out the most beautiful lettuce, healthiest beets, or biggest carrots. I noticed that if I involved the kids in picking the food and learning how food was actually grown they were more likely to eat the food that was put in front of them.
Bingo…I have my answer…I get dinner on the table because I involve my kids! I explained how my kids still to this day help me shop, prep and cook meals. They are the ones that I involve in what meals get made each day. What are we in the mood for? What’s in season? How much time do we have allotted to cook?
Cooking with my kids has not only helped put actual food on the table, but meal prep has become my opportunity to make deeper connections with my kids. The real conversations with my teens happen in the kitchen while cleaning vegetables, stirring a soup or blending a smoothie. My kids not only have a connection to the food they eat, but to me as a mom, because we did it together.
Christine Egan is the author of The Healthy Girl’s Guide to Breast Cancer. It wasn’t until her diagnosis that she showed her body the love it deserved. Don’t wait for something horrible to happen for you to give your body the love and respect it deserves.