If you follow us on Facebook you already know that September is National Meals Month! (And if you don’t follow us on Facebook we’d love to see you there too! https://www.facebook.com/realmeaningfulfamily/)
Family mealtime is a topic that I am very passionate about, you could say it had a part in getting me to follow this path of parenting, family relationships, and child development. Regular family meals together is hugely beneficial for children’s outcomes, and it is such an easy routine to integrate into family life!
I know life gets busy for everyone, so it has to first be a priority to have at least 3 family dinners together. And sometimes we need help with tips, tricks, and new ideas to keep dinner interesting for all of us! Here are some ideas for you:
- Visit http://www.fmi.org/family-meals-month/about for tips, recipes, and other resources to make regular family meals possible for your family. They also may have links to grocery stores and other companies in your area that have joined the Family Meals initiative. Will you accept the challenge of 1 more family meal a week for the month of September? Share your experiences with us on facebook with #FamilyMealsMonth.
- Get your kids involved in the kitchen with you! Getting to be a part of the choosing and preparation process oftentimes makes it more fun to eat dinner for our kids!
- The dinner table should not be a battle ground, it should be a warm place to land for our kids at the end of the day. Encourage your child to try each item on their plate, but let them have some control over the rest. It’s ok, even encouraged, to set boundaries, for instance my kids don’t get to eat nothing and then have a treat. We might say “Eat 3 bites of veggies and 2 bites of meat and then you can have…” I definitely don’t encourage forcing children to finish their entire plate! They need to feel and learn what it’s like to have enough food in their tummies and forcing them to finish all of their food may lead to overeating.
Talking about National Family Meals Month is perfect timing because today’s “In the Kitchen” activity is applesauce, which in my opinion is a perfect, fun and healthy, addition to tonights family dinner! Plus, it’s super easy, fast, and a great recipe to get your child involved!
Now, I got pretty fancy with our applesauce today… I used 2 kinds of apples, aaaaand i peeled them. I guess I was feeling super ambitious or something.
Once they were chopped up and ready to go I had both kids sprinkle on cinnamon, squeeze in honey, and pour the water.
Of course they both had very equal opportunities to add to the applesauce!
We let it simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. The time will depend some on how big you chopped your apple chunks.
We let the soft apple chunks cool for a bit, and then mashed them up with a potato masher. You could use a food processor, but I think mashing them by hand is a little more fun for kids.
Yum! A healthy, fall inspired, side dish for tonights meal together!