Family Fitness It Starts At The Dinner Table

Family Fitness It Starts At The Dinner Table

Family Fitness It Starts At The Dinner Table

by Valorie McGilvra, Teacher and Life Coach-ADHD/Parenting

When you ask your kids what they want for dinner, do they say?

A. A favorite home-cooked meal

B. Chick-fil-A, Panda

C. Order pizza

My boys will choose B or C more often than not. I want to change all of that this summer. We do have family dinners, but they are far and few between. I decided to “coach” myself to make this important change in my family’s life, and here’s how I did it.

First, I wrote down the reasons why having a family dinner is important to me.

  • My childhood memories of setting the table and helping prepare meals with mom.
  • It is becoming a fortune to eat out.
  • Healthy-home-cooked meals are going to be healthier, and you can control what is going into your food. Doctors attribute many diseases
    to diet.
  • It is really the only time to sit with everyone and connect.
  • Teaching your child how to cook, table etiquette, measurements, timing, learning what ingredients to use, and how to mix and match them for a perfect meal.
  • Communicate with people, share with family.

Next, I wrote down why I haven’t been successful.

  • Time– between baseball and my husband’s work schedule this always puts a wrench in our dinner plans.
  • Planning-I start with good intentions, then I drop the ball. All it takes is a few days of unplanned dinner, and my car’s GPS takes over, and I am ordering a #5 combo!
  • Routine-Once again this skill comes from the part of your brain that controls Executive Function, so I struggle with this as well.

Once you identify why your goal is important and what obstacles you’ve encountered, then you are ready to write your new goal and plan of action.

Step 1: Write your goal. I want to have family dinner three days a week. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic, and resourced, results-based).
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Step 2: Identify the reasons why your new goal is important to you and list the reasons why you want the change.

  • I want to have a regular family time that will help foster strong, healthy relationships with my family.
  • I want my family to eat healthily.
  • I want to use our money wisely.

Step 3: What are the possible obstacles, and how will you overcome them?

  • Lack of Planning/Preparation: I wait until I’m driving home to plan dinner.
  • Action: Make a menu and a grocery list in advance.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Baseball, soccer, music lessons, etc. Honor the day and time I set for our family dinners. Be prepared for life’s events to happen and set another day, so you still get in your minimum weekly family dinners.

Step 4: I now have a doable plan. I will have three family dinners per week. I will choose three dinners and have them prepped ahead of time on Sunday. If we miss a day, I will go back and figure out why it didn’t happen and readjust the day or time.

Want to join me? Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you.

Quick Tip: Try playing some family conversational games at the table to keep it lively. We play guess the capital, and famous people named George…

Check out: Marriage 365 Blog for dinner conversation starters.

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