Enjoying meals together as a family is highly valued among Indians. Eating together as a family has many nutritional, social and psychological benefits. Studies show that children who eat with their families have higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, and dairy products, which are foods we often don’t eat enough of.

Here are some tips to help you get meals on the table in minutes so you’ll have time to make mealtime a family affair!

1. Plan ahead: Make a menu schedule one week at a timeGrocery shop on the weekend, pre-wash and chop fruits and vegetables so they are ready when you need them.

2. Batch Cooking: Double your recipes when cooking on the weekend so all you have to do on a week night is thaw and reheat. Meal planning and bulk cooking are both wonderful techniques you can utilize and modify to fit your families needs. The idea behind this is simple. The principle is that you cook and or prepare your meals ahead of time and then preserve them by either freezing or refrigerating them. Also, meal planning you can cook one large meal and get 2-3 other meals out of it! The key here is to make every meal you cook count!

3. Get everyone involved: Get your kids involved with setting the table, filling glasses with water or milk, and making a salad. Cooking together is also a great way to teach your kids about preparing healthy and delicious foods.

4. Enjoy your mealtime:  Keep mealtime conversation topics light and fun. Dinner is not the time to make nasty comments about each other, rather use this precious time to practice good manners and conversation skills. Enjoyable meal times will ensure that the entire family makes time to be there for the meal.

5. Plan for leftovers: Try to use the leftover ingredients and turn it into some other recipe for the next meal to save time and avoid wastage. For eg . idlis leftover from one meal can be turned into fried idli with vegetables for another meal.

6. Label your containers: Have a good container and label system in place. That way, you know what you can use later and have a date to work with.

Families that eat together, stay together! But it is not always easy, however, with some planning and patience, it is possible. If not every meal, try eating a few meals together each week. You will surely create and cement the bonds of a lifetime!

Importance of Meal Planning