Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Family Table

There was a research study that came out a few years ago that found that children who had regular, sit-down family dinners were more likely to do well in school, were less likely to experience truancy, and were less likely to use substances. As a researcher, I found that super interesting – I assume it’s because the parent or parents are more involved with the child/children than just having family dinners, but it also showed me something.
Could you enjoy this too?

After talking with my students in my Psychology of Personality class (granted, a small sample size), I found that many of them didn’t have family dinners growing up and wished that they had. The ones who didn’t have family dinners as a child either had them now with their children or planned to have them when they had kids. When this study came out, I didn’t have family meals and I rationalized it by saying it was hard with two small children (one taking a bottle and one eating whatever a toddler will eat).

Many of my students didn't have family dinners but they wished they had.

When they became 5 and 3, I decided it was time. No more eating in front of the TV. We all sat at the table together and hung out until everyone was done. We chatted about our day, and eventually my now six-year-old will ask, “Daddy, how was your day? Mommy what was fun about your day?” We get to hear Silas’ (not so) funny jokes (he’s six, he makes them up) and we try as much as possible to get Sage, age 4, to participate in the conversation. If nothing else, he gets to hear conversation and tends to repeat what we say to each other.
As we were eating more meals together, I came to realization – I am not a cook. I can bake like nobody’s business, but cooking just wasn’t my thing. I started ordering those services where they sent you all of the ingredients for dinner and my husband and I enjoyed preparing meals together. It was nice. But one thing got frustrating – when you get a service like that, you get 3 meals (or however many you choose) and you literally have to make them in the next three days or the produce will go bad. So I started looking for other options. I spent a few weeks meal planning but realized I was making the same recipes over and over (because they were easy and I knew we’d all eat them). That “got the job done” but it became boring. I could see the “Tater tot casserole again?” look on Mike’s face.

I became a better cook. Look at me, all cooking and stuff!

In May of this year I attended an event where a representative from a company called Tastefully Simple showed the people at the event their Collections products – for the same price as I was paying for three meals a week, they sold the products, recipes, and grocery lists to make 10 meals. You could also go on their website and find new recipes to make with the products that you received in your Collection so you weren’t stuck making the same 10 meals. You could also join their subscription service (called TS to You) where you received a new Collection ever other month. It came with more new products, new recipes, and new options. I was intrigued.
Then I started looking at the other products (besides the Collections) on their website and made a wish list of over 20 items. “This could actually make cooking FUN,” I thought to myself. So I ordered a Collection called Fix it Fast – all of the recipes take 30 minutes or less to make. The first meal I made Mike ate two helpings of and he didn’t add anything to it (like salt, pepper, or hot sauce as he usually did). “This is really good babe,” he told me. Huh. I was impressed that he was impressed.
I actually started enjoying cooking. I know that for some people that isn’t a big deal, but it was and is for me. I have always felt badly about our dinners – we ate out a lot, we made the same things over and over, and looking back, the meals were pretty damn boring. Now I can make the 6 meals for the week ahead of time and freeze them (and the instructions for making the TS recipe a freezer meal actually came with the Collection). We still do frozen pizza on Fridays, but that has become part of our family’s week and I’m not going to change it.
After trying so many of the Tastefully Simple products, I decided that I wanted to share TS with friends and family – after purchasing a collection, you can become an Independent Consultant for $39.95 and get a discount on your own items (as well as help others make better dinner decisions). I’ve become that person that takes a picture of their dinner and shares it because I am proud of the fact that I made that MYSELF. And my family ate it and ENJOYED IT. To me, that’s huge. And I love it.

I'm not kidding, I make this look easy because it is.

I’m betting there are at least 3 people reading this that would benefit from trying a Collection. Think about it: recipes at the ready, grocery list of meats and produce ready to go, and the ability to make freezer meals and have them ready to go when you’re ready to make dinner. Next month we’re trying the Family Favorites collection, and maybe after that we’ll try the grilling collection. Are you excited about dinner? Do you want to be? Check out the options that my family loves here and let me know in the comments which Collection you think your family would enjoy.


Liz, CEO of Wright Family Dinners

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