Wholesome food, great conversation: how to get the most out of family dinners

Simple tips for some quality time around the table

The week can often be hectic, what with school runs, work, socialising, activities and keeping fit. In the midst of all this business, finding the time to fit in family meals can be difficult to say the least. However, we feel it’s the ideal opportunity to put life to one side and come together over delicious, wholesome food:

5 benefits of eating as a family

Our expert nutritionist Freda Molamphy tells us why sitting around the table can help with the family’s nutrition

  • Having dinner at the table puts a stop to eating mindlessly in front of the TV. This not only helps digestion but also prevents overeating.
  • Kids benefit from the social side eating as a family brings.
  • They’ll develop a more positive attitude towards food, and also tend to become less ‘picky’ once they see others enjoying various foods.
  • When a family meal has been planned ahead, it naturally tends to be more nutritionally balanced.
  • Most important of all, eating as a family allows for interaction and bonding, especially important given hectic and demanding lives in the UAE.

5 ways to get the kids talking at the table

Little ones, and particularly teenagers, can occasionally be a bit shut off. It’s time to think outside the box with these funny conversation starters

1. Ask them – if they were grown-up for one day, what would they do?

2. Grab their attention with an outlandish statement they won’t be able to resist disputing. Like this – ‘So I heard a giant gorilla burst into your school today?’

3. Get everyone to take a turn talking about what makes them feel mad, glad, sad.

4. Set their imaginations free by seeing where in the world they’d like to visit. Then promise that one night you’ll cook a dish from that country to give them a taste for exploring other flavours.

5. Talk about the food from your childhood, then ask what their favourite dish is.

5 tasty family faves

Stir-fried lemon chicken and noodles
Packed with veggies and flavours little ones love, this recipe turns a takeaway classic into a healthy, crowd-pleaser of a recipe that’ll excited all ages.

Homemade pizza buns  
A weekend wonder if there ever was one – get the children involved with making the dough and picking their favourite toppings.

Sticky salmon skewers  
Kids will enjoy having the chance to pick up their food, while the fact they’re eating super-healthy salmon will give adults great satisfaction.

Cheese and homemade baked bean toasted sandwiches 
Cheesy beans for dinner? ‘Yes please’ a thousand times – because when the beans are homemade, everyone’s going to want to dig in.

Very-veggie spaghetti bolognese  
Spag bol is a classic way to cram vegetables into diets, and this version more than lives up to that nutritious reputation.

Would you like to feature in a future issue of Spinneys Magazine? Send us an email with your family’s favourite meal, or get in touch with us on any of our social media channels – we’d love to see your recipes!