Food on Friday: What does your family dinnertime look like?


By Julia Westhoff

Growing up in Minnesota we ate most of our meals at home, but often went out to eat at an ethnic restaurant or got Friday night take-out. Here in Prairie Village Jay grew up eating mostly at home (his mom is a great cook). But both our families placed great importance on eating dinner together. At my house we all had to cook once a week, and we weren’t allowed to answer the phone during dinner. Even though at the time it seemed like kind of a drag, I’m learning more and more why it’s important.

Our family spends a lot of time around the dinner table. Don’t get me wrong – eating out is one of my favorite things to do. However, tight budgets and little kids mean that we eat at home for almost every meal (except for lunch, which the girls bring to school). But I know that we also have it easier than most – working from home takes a lot of the stress out of meal planning and preparation.

I’ve been reading a lot about this subject lately. It turns out that eating dinner as a family has all kinds of far-reaching implications. It’s usually healthier, of course, but did you know that children learn more words at the family dinner table than they do from reading books? Or that the only common denominator among surveyed National Merit Scholars was that they regularly at dinner with their families? Dinner together also correlates to lower stress levels and less likelihood that kids will abuse drugs or alcohol.

I don’t have a recipe today – I just wanted to hear your thoughts. Just for kicks, here’s what we had for dinner this week:

Sunday: Meatloaf Sandwiches and Broccoli
Monday: Thai Green Curry (the girls had chicken and rice – I made it way too spicy for them)
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas and Guacamole
Wednesday: Broccoli Cheese Soup and Bread
Thursday: Roast Salmon and Quinoa
Friday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

What about you? Do you eat at home, or do you prefer to go out? Why?