Written by: Fresh Thyme Dietitian, Kerry Clifford

Are you one of the 63% of people who don’t know what they’re having for dinner tonight? It’s becoming increasingly common for families to eat separately or at the drive-thru window.

The studies are clear, eating a family meal together improves grades and self-esteem, improves eating habits and reduces risky behavior.

We know that juggling jobs, kids and the demands of a busy, modern life often come at the expense of family mealtime at home.

Family meals don’t have to take hours to prep and don’t have to just be dinner. Try these tips to enjoy just one more family meal together:  

  • Make it easy to prep. Opt for minimal prep foods without sacrificing health. Try better for you chicken sausage with baked sweet potato and a pre-made salad! Buying meals with minimal prep time so your time is actually spent eating together
  • Put away the electronics.  Pledge to put the phones down! Enjoy face time together without the screens (that means TV, too!)
  • Get everyone involved. Make cooking a family matter, more men are cooking today, utilize kids to help with age-appropriate tasks.
  • Do other food activities together. Pack lunches together- that counts!
  • Not just dinner. Mealtime isn’t just dinner- can you make breakfast time work to sit around the table?
  • Combine premade with healthier. Have you tried easy flatbreads? Fresh Thyme sells pre-made crusts, just grab some pizza sauce, tons of veggies and some shredded cheese!

Here’s How:

  • Step 1: Make your Menu
    The meals you eat should fit into your schedule. Know you’re going to be around and have time to cook? Or know you’re going to be home at 7:30 pm? Think about the week ahead and make the list according to it. Pick up your items on Sunday or whatever day works for you and over half your cart should be fruits and veggies.
  • Step 2: What’s in your cart?
    As a Dietitian, one of the reasons I work for a grocery store is even as a child I thought it was the foundation for healthy eating and a healthy life. How can you eat veggies if you don’t have any around? Start out by filling at least half your cart with in-season fruits and veggies, like cranberries, broccoli and also peppers, bananas, apples, try some new ones! Don’t forget to have your proteins for lunches and dinners. What about dairy, grab some Icelandic yogurt packed with protein? Yogurts or almond milk? How about hummus as your snack or healthy afternoon snack?
  • Step 3: Pack it up!
    Cook once, eat multiple times is the whole idea behind Meal Prep 101! Grab some glass containers easy for reheating and you’re ready to go. Make meals for the week ahead to make the weeknights less stressful. Wash and chop the fruits and veggies, so they’re ready for eating. Voila, fresh family thyme courtesy of Fresh Thyme!