Cat Cora's Tips for Making Mealtime Great
Make mealtime family time with these helpful tips from super chef and super mom Cat Cora.
- Turn off the television at cooking time and mealtime. TV is a big distraction when you want family conversation and interaction.
- Share responsibility for all aspects of the meal with your children. Start by deciding together what you'll be having.
- Share the job of grocery shopping with your children, take turns taking one of the children with you as a helper. Always make a grocery list and let your children help you retrieve items and cross them off the list.
- Encourage the littlest ones to play pretend cooking. Kids love to play with real mixing bowls, strainers and wooden spoons. These make harmless toys and can be easily thrown in the dishwasher for quick cleanup.
- Prepare the dinner with your partner or spouse so you can communicate anything going on in the house and spend quality time together.
- Make the dinner table sacred by keeping it permanently set with a tablecloth or cloth napkins. Be sure not to let the table get piled with mail and things that need to get put away.
- Even if you are in a rush preparing dinner, remember to reduce your stress and focus on creating a fun atmosphere that naturally encourages the whole family to participate.
- On days where you anticipate time will be tight, it is ok to supplement meals with some pre-made foods that are quality and healthy, like fresh frozen stir fry veggies with a chicken, meat or fish. Your family will appreciate your relaxed mood much more than a made-from-scratch dinner.
- When spending time preparing food with your children, include lessons about healthy eating choices. Keep the conversation positive and avoid listing foods they can't have.
- Have big family meals where you share about your day. Keep the conversation fun and avoid negative lectures over dinner. Remember to laugh.