Reviews & Giveaways

10th Annual National Family Dinner Night

Some things, even important and obvious things, requires a reminder now and then.

Like – family dinner nights.

Dinnertime is our time as a family, to re-connect and share our day. School, activities, lack of time, chaotic and conflicting schedules – they all have a direct effect on sitting down to dinner together. The hectic days can get the best of us, so it’s important to keep in mind that when possible – we must devote time to family dinner nights.

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It’s the 10th Annual National Family Dinner Night with M&M Meat Shops, and I love their dedication to reminding us of its importance.

Only 30% of families eat dinner together each night, according to survey. This is a 47% decline from what families said last year {yikes!}, yet this is an ‘every night’ statement and I personally don’t know anyone that would say ‘every night’ with total certainty. So, I’m hopeful that a huge percentage would say yes to eating together on ‘most nights’. In either case, I’d hate to see a further decline in future years.

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What does sadden me is that 5% of the surveyed admit to never eating dinner together. Never. 

A typical family dinner lasts 15-20 minutes, so it shouldn’t be that hard to sit down together for dinner as often as possible. Let’s make it a mission to commit to healthy communication and good food – without distractions from devices, television or computers!

This is why I featured my recipe for One Dish Salmon Dinner, it’s simple and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s a delicious recipe that can be made when you feel that there is no time to cook a hearty meal – because you can! 

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When I made my family One Dish Salmon Dinner, my husband was away at work. Fact of life, this is one of those unavoidable times when we can’t always have the entire family together to eat dinner.

So, on this particular family dinner night, it was just after the last week at school. This was a great time for the kids and I to talk about how those first few days were going as we prepared for the weekend.

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Since this dinner recipe is one-dish, preparation could not have been simpler. I prepped One Dish Salmon Dinner while the girls put away backpacks, set aside lunch boxes, and piled the school newsletters on the counter. Dinner prep only took 5-10 minutes and that’s with the kids buzzing about the kitchen with me – told you it was simple! 

The twins set the table on this evening .. by the way, you can always tell it’s Katies turn to place the utensils when the forks are pointing down toward you. It’s her thing and I don’t have the heart to correct her quite yet – I think it’s cute. 

During our meal, the chatter from the twins was non-stop. They just started Grade 1, such an exciting time for them. They talked about their Kindergarten friends from last year and who was in their class. Miss Katie was especially happy because she made a new friend on the second day of school. Yep, my shy and quiet twinlin is coming out of her shell!

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Miss Sophia learned to whistle at school, and was eager to show off her newfound talent. All.The.Time. So when she didn’t have food in her mouth, she was practicing her whistling. Actually, our meal was kinda like dinner theatre. 

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My oldest talked about all the great things to come for Grade 5. Leadership, school trips and more – this girl truly loves everything about school and was so thrilled to be back. 

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My oldest told her sisters and I all about what her friends did over the summer. Since her birthday is in September, there was talk of what she wanted to do to celebrate this year. Oh, and what she wants as gifts, of course.

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We talked so much, dinner took longer than usual that night, yet I didn’t mind. We all even had seconds of the delicious Jail Island Salmon

I’m always happy to slow down the chaos and connect with my girls during meals. This time is one that we can count on, to have each others complete attention – and we all totally need moments like these in our lives. I hope you agree!

I gave you this tiny glimpse into one of our family dinner nights, and I bet you learned a thing or two about my children. Just think what you could learn about your family during one of your own … 

Get your family back to the table with these M&M Meat Shops tips:

1. Make a commitment – Start small by participating in National Family Dinner Night on September 18th. Then decide what is realistic for your family to sit down and eat together. Establish your routine and work to increase the number of meals you eat together.

2. Be realistic – Dinner doesn’t have to be a gourmet endeavour every night. If you make mealtime prep too daunting, it won’t happen. M&M Meat Shops offers hundreds of convenient meal ideas for mouth-watering dishes, including gluten free, vegetarian and calorie conscious options, with little or no prep time needed.

3. Plan ahead – Meal planning will help take the guesswork out of putting dinner on the table. With a planned schedule of meals, you won’t find yourself panicked at dinnertime, wondering what you can pull together last-minute. Try to plan just a couple days at a time and work up from there.

4. Add new tastes – It’s very easy to fall into a rut, but adding a little variety to your mealtime repertoire will make the family dinner more fun and exciting. Check out M&M Meat Shop’s website for meals with great flavour and flair, like Chicken Quesadillas, Pulled Pork and Butter Chicken.

5. Think about time differently – Many people say they don’t have time to make dinner, but M&M Meat Shops has a long list of products that take less time to prepare than waiting in the line-up at the drive thru. For example, family-friendly meals like Meat Loaf Minis, Three-Cheese Pasta Bake, Spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Fajitas can all be on the table in 20 minutes or less.

6. Just start– In the survey, 6% of respondents said that they don’t cook, but it really is easier than you think. Check out the M&M Meat Shops website for lots of meal ideas divided into key categories such as quick and delicious; hearty and wholesome; and kids’ favourites – no culinary skills required.

7. Be flexible – Have snacks on hand to give kids energy for after-school activities and to help them bridge the gap to dinnertime, whip up a fruit smoothie with M&M Meat Shops flash frozen fruit or make your meal a finger-food buffet with options like Sweet Potato Fries, Mini Franks in Pastry, and Cod Nuggets.

8. Get the kids involved – Having kids help make dinner or even just set the table, makes
them more involved in the meal and provides more family bonding time.

 

family dinner nightOn September 18th, 2014, Canadians are encouraged to participate in the 10th annual M&M Meat Shops’ National Family Dinner Night

Let’s step up to the plate and enjoy the tradition of the family dinner, on this day and as many as we can!

 

How do you make time for family dinners?

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Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. Yet as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

 

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47 Comments

  1. I love family dinners. We don’t do it nearly as much as I would like, but it’s so important!

    1. Hope you are able to often, I always feel bad when one member has to eat solo at different times. We do a lot of juggling to make it work!

  2. We definitely need to get better about eating dinner together as a family more often. I also want to try that one dish salmon dinner. YUM!

  3. We are trying to get better with having family dinners at our house. I try to time them for when my husband gets home from work but he often has to work late.

  4. Family dinners are so important! Everyone is always so busy, so it’s nice to block time to regroup and share what’s happening with everyone. 🙂

  5. Family dinner night are really important to help the family to reconnect. I am proud to say that we make a point almost every night to sit down together as a family to eat and there is a no cell phone/electronics at the table rule. I grew up were we ate dinner as a family every night and it is something I have always enjoyed and carried on.

    1. Love hearing that Judy, there’s very few nights that myself and the kids aren’t all together during dinner. Well, unless someone is at a friends house for dinner or hubby and I get to have a date night out. 🙂

  6. You family is so beautiful! I love family dinners and we try to eat together as often as possible. It is sometimes hard with sports but we do it as much as we can.

  7. WOW, those statistics are a shock to me. We have family dinner together EVERY night of the week. So, it surprises me so many don’t. It’s one of our favorite times of the day to all be together.

  8. Your girls are so cute bad look just like you! We love eating family meals too!

  9. I can’t imagine NOT having dinner as a family. It is the only time that we can all sit and reconnect to talk over our days and spend time together

  10. It’s so important to have family dinners. It’s a great time to hear about one anothers days and really just spend time together in the busy lives.

  11. I like the idea of adding something new to your family night dinner. Having some surprise meals is fun and helps expand our taste buds with less inhibition.

  12. This is a really great post, and a really great idea. Having dinner as a family is a great way to connect with each other.

  13. I’m so glad there’s a movement to promote family dinner night. In our hectic lives, it’s really easy to just disconnect from your family.

  14. Almost every night is family dinner night for me and my husband. It’s the one time of the day where we can just slow down and really spend time with each other.

  15. We always (every night) eat dinner as a family (our immediate family, like my husband and I and our kids) and every Monday we have dinner with my husbands parents and siblings. Then Friday’s with my parents and siblings (and some cousins sometimes too)

  16. My family always ate dinner together. They also helpd to get it started some days, so I could finish it when I got home. I took a trip to visit my mom last week and I cooked up a turkey dinner to have my brother and sister and their families for a get together.

  17. Enjoy! I really miss family dinner night, Our kids are teenagers and between school, sports, jobs, girl/boyfriends that doesn’t leave many nights to eat together. I really do cherish when do get to sit down as a family.

  18. I love your tips on getting the family together. I can tell you we have a lot of M&M products in our house. They sure do come to good use on a busy day! Thanks for your article! 🙂

  19. That one pan meal looks really nutritious and tasty! I should try something today , since it is the 18th.

  20. I love M&M’s always buy their Frozen Veggies and their Prepared Chicken Wings. YUM!

  21. We have family dinner every night . I love to ask and see how my daughters day was at school

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