How to Involve Your Family with Meal Planning

Congratulations! You’ve decided that you want to feel better, have more energy, and less stress surrounding meal times. Did you plan at least one meal last week? If not, that’s okay. Try again this week, this time, with the support of your family.

At EatLove, we’ve learned that in order to adopt lasting change, it’s key to have support. Having accountability keeps people on track, and you have someone taking the journey with you towards establishing lifelong behavior change. Research suggests that those involved in lifestyle behavior changes, such as weight loss programs, keep the weight off longer when provided with social support. This same technique can apply to other goals and endeavors. If you’ve resolved to cook more at home, building out a structured support system can help keep you get there.

We know that preparing good food is an investment in time. By including your family, you take an otherwise solitary exercise, and transform it into something more fun and rewarding. You get the opportunity to teach your children skills that will last a lifetime, whilst getting the benefit of sous chefs! Children yearn for responsibility and opportunities to express creativity. Partaking in family meal prep provides children with a sense of empowerment. We created EatLove with the whole family in mind. We know that when everyone chips in and we commit to automate and delegate, everyone benefits.

If you’re the primary food shopper and chef in the household, getting others involved may seem like a daunting task, but it can be done. This is a quote we read on a blog recently, humorous indeed, but highlights that we all have a role to play in planning and preparing food: “Women belong in the kitchen. Men belong in the kitchen. Everyone belongs in the kitchen. The kitchen has food.”

There are several ways to involve your family in the process. Gather round EatLove, and take turns choosing favorite cuisines or recipes you’d like to try this week. Try to include something that everyone suggests at every meal. If you are not able to do that try to rotate people’s preferences. When everyone is involved in the process they will likely be more willing and excited about what is prepared.

If trying new recipes this week and getting the family on board at the same time seems like a lofty goal, stick with some of your go-to recipes first. If you have a favorite family recipe you’d like to make each week, you can input it here right on EatLove. We’ll enter it into our system and provide you with the nutritional analysis and grocery list so you can plan each week with your own beloved family classics.

One of our other favorite ways to engage everyone is called “Sunday Sanity Prep.” Here, we provide an automated prep schedule so you can plow through your list of chopping, slicing, and dicing ahead of time. This decreases your food prep time spent during the week, enabling you to spend more time around the dinner table enjoying the meal. Not to mention, it’s a fabulous way to delegate to your kids and help them build confidence in the kitchen to last a lifetime.

Another way to share responsibilities is to pass on the task of grocery shopping to another family member or spouse. You can print or email your grocery list or take with you to the store on our mobile web version.

Finally, after you’ve successfully shared in the shopping and the food preparation, it’s now time to enjoy the meal. Take this time to focus on food, family, and conversation . Our partner, the Family Dinner Project, provides a wonderful array of conversation starters for children (and adults!) of all ages.

Some of our favorite conversation starters include:

“If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?”
“What is something you love that you would like to share with someone else?”
“If you could pack your own lunch every day, what would you pack?”

It may not happen overnight, but this week, try to take one small step towards involving the family in the kitchen. Whether it’s taking turns picking the week’s meals, or sharing in the “Sunday Sanity Prep,” everyone will feel included and empowered in the family meal time. When everyone is involved, it is easier and more fun to stay on the path of healthier and happier eating.

Cheers to building lifelong food memories together!

Monique Nadeau & Tara Linitz MS RD

Tara Linitz

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