10 Tips for Balancing Busy Schedules and Healthy Family Meals to Eat Better, Eat Together

20 Oct, 2011, 05:20 ET from Dairy Council of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family meals lead to healthier, more successful children, but finding time to eat together can be a balancing act for many families. Last week, 15 registered dietitians and parenting bloggers from the United States, Canada and New Zealand shared their tips, tricks and motivations for making time to have balanced meals with their families during the Balancing Act Blog Carnival, part of the Eat Better, Eat Together family meal campaign and blog series from Dairy Council of California. Here are the top 10 big ideas they shared, from their families to yours.

  1. Planning family meals ahead of time is essential; develop systems that make the purchasing, preparing and partaking easier.
  2. Keep it simple. Family meals don't have to be elaborate to be healthy and effective. Come up with easy ways to balance your meals with simple vegetable side dishes or fruit and yogurt desserts.
  3. Have healthy food on hand and eat from your freezer or pantry on busy weeknights. Prepare double batches of food when you're less rushed so you can cook once, eat twice.
  4. The family meal does not have to be dinner; breakfast or lunch may work better in some households.
  5. Toughen up. Prepare one meal for the whole family to enjoy. Include all five food groups and everyone should be able to find something they'll want to eat.
  6. Turn off technology and tune into each other. Make conversation the focus of family meals, but keep it light. The dinner table is not the place for discipline.
  7. Share the work. Enlist help from the family to plan shopping lists, make lunches, set the table, pour the milk and clean up.
  8. Eating as a family is truly comforting for toddlers, teens and adults. Family meals can become a cherished tradition for the whole family.
  9. Dump the guilt. Family meals may not happen every day, and that's OK. Make the most of your family meals when they occur.
  10. Family meals aren't always easy, but they're always worth the effort. Start or strengthen your family's commitment and take the Eat Better, Eat Together family meal pledge today!

About Dairy Council of California
Through its nutrition education programs the Dairy Council of California promotes nutrient-rich choices from all the food groups and regular physical activity as the foundation for optimal health. Healthy Eating Made Easier®.

About Meals Matter
Maintained by the registered-dietitian moms with Dairy Council of California, MealsMatter.org is a free family-nutrition and meal-planning website dedicated to helping families improve their eating habits with nutritious meals and snacks.

On the Net:
Dairy Council of California: http://www.DairyCouncilofCA.org
Meals Matter: http://www.MealsMatter.org
Balancing Act Blog Carnival: http://www.MealsMatter.org/blog/post/2011/10/12/Balancing-Act-Blog-Carnival.aspx
Eat Better, Eat Together Pledge: https://www.facebook.com/MealsMatter.org?sk=app_278482078831778

SOURCE Dairy Council of California