Family meals. Ah, one of my soapbox issues, and I have a few! And before you tell me how hard it is I know, I get it. I have two boys who between them do soccer, Cubs/Scouts, hockey, violin, orchestra, swimming and seem to have more friends than I've ever had. Not to mention work that for me is fortunately flexible but often has me needing to do things at weird times.
But in our household it's a priority and in some ways that's by popular request. Before we moved to NZ 4 years ago we were in Melbourne and Roy (hubby) worked in the country for a year. This meant he was home for weekends but not during the week. It was hard on all of us and one of the things we missed the most was family dinners. When we were deciding whether to take a leap of faith and move to NZ with Roy's work one of the things that sold the boys on the uproot was the promise of family dinners. I kid you not. We didn't realise how important these had become to the boys at 7 and 4 years old.
In order to make this happen Roy leaves for work before 7.00am so he can be home at 5.30pm and I often pre-cook meals so they are ready to just reheat in the oven when needed. Are we able to eat together every night? No, but we do try to make it a reality as often as possible. And as I said it gets prioritised so other things get shuffled if possible, not the meal.
I didn't realise how important it was to me until Max and I did the "Live below the line challenge" and couldn't participate in the family meals. It took away one of the most pleasurable times of the day. Where we sit together, chat and catch up on each other's days. Where we can laugh and relax and appreciate having family time. For non-confident eaters this is doubly important as they are watching everyone else eat and seeing their parents role model healthy eating habits, trying new foods and enjoying veggies. They also learn to appreciate mealtimes as family time, as a positive part of their day and as something to look forward to. Perfect for instilling a healthy attitude towards food and for creating an atmosphere that encourages eating appropriately.
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.