Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Make Dinnertime Dynamic

The back-to-school madness can make getting together for dinner challenging. But the final meal of the day is about much more than rounding out your nutritional requirements. It's a time when families come back together, regroup, catch up and talk about their day. The family dinner table also provides a place for parents and older children to model good eating habits and table manners for younger children. Some studies suggest that children who eat meals with their parents have healthier eating habits than those who don't. Families that eat together at home tend to consume less fast food and more fruits and vegetables, and preparing meals at home gives parents control over both the quality and quantity of food. With childhood obesity on the rise in the United States, many experts also recommend that parents:
  • Serve sensible portion sizes so kids know that "supersized" isn't normal.
  • Help kids understand how to eat until they are comfortably satisfied, but not full.
  • Let children serve themselves as early as age 5 so they begin to regulate portions themselves.
  • Don't pressure kids to clear their plates; encourage them to judge fullness by physical rather than visual cues.
Here are a few ideas for helping make those dinners happen:
  • Allow each family member to choose the menu on a regular rotation.
  • "Have family members look through cookbooks (online or in print) and choose a few new recipes to try.
  • Learn to cook with a pressure cooker or slow cooker to make meal prep easier on everyone's schedule. You'll return at the end of the day to a dinner that's ready to serve.
  • Cook several meals over the weekend and refrigerate or freeze them to be reheated later during the week.
  • Mix prepared and homemade foods to save time and still provide complete nutrition at each meal.
  • Turn off the phone, television and other distractions. Play soothing music to set the mood if you like!
Now, get cooking with some simple suppers like these: Get more Back to School tips and find lots more great recipes in our Family-Friendly and Cooking with Kids recipes collections. What is your family's favorite weeknight meal?

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Roberta Wilson says …

I love you store and this computer site. However, it would be nice if you could make the print a little bigger for your SENIOR citizens. Thanks so much.

Oliver says …

Where is the sprouted flour foods here? I don't see them. I highly recommend anything sprouted incorporated into your personal diet. I love how anything sprouted digests in your body as a vegetable. It's so nourishing! Check out this blog for a list of sprouted products: thesproutedflourblog.com

screwdestiny says …

This is such good advice. Up until about the age of 11 my family ate dinner together, at the table, at least 5 times a week. I think that was something that was really important. They never pressured me to "clean my plate" and I always saw my parents eating normal portion sizes. My parents set me up for having a great relationship with food, and as a result I've never had problems with my weight or with eating enough healthy foods.

Amber says …

i strongly recommend a trip to your local library to browse their cookbooks! there are so many great specialty cookbooks out there...healthy and natural ones, vegetarian and vegan ones, cookbooks for people with certain food allergies or special dietary needs...cookbooks full of recipes with very few ingredients, or that only require messing up 1 pot or pan to fix them, or take very little time to prepare...ones about cooking with specific appliances like slow cookers, rice cookers, outdoor grills...ones about preparing meals to be frozen and cooked later...ones where all of the recipes contain one specific ingredient, like tofu or potatoes or garlic...ones specifically about appetizers or desserts or soups or sandwiches...ones about specific types of ethnic cuisines. bring home a variety of cookbooks for free, try the recipes that sound interesting, write down the ones you like, take your books back to the library, and repeat!

Colette says …

This is nice and everything, but what is the facination with "cheese". Every other recipe (not just here) has cheese. Not everyone is a cheese lover...although I know many people are and I have nothing against them. It would really be nice to see some "vegan" recipes and raw food recipes as well. I look forward to some nice vegan / raw recipes to add to my collection. Peace~

Obdulia Seabrooks says …

Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too