Finding Balance: A Family Journey


If your family is anything like mine, it seems like we’re always running around on the go from one commitment to another. When it comes to dinner, it’s so easy to run through a drive thru, order pizza, or eat “junk” (as my kiddos call it…and “junk” is their favorite food). Just the thought of coordinating a homemade dinner and having it on the table each night is often completely overwhelming. I get it! I get not having the time, not knowing what to make, being stuck in a rut, feeling overwhelmed, and not wanting to deal with the complaints of the littles (and some bigs, too). Your fears are justified! But…you knew it was coming…I’m a big fan of connecting as a family for dinner.

Eating at home is a healthier option than eating fast food, takeout or delivery. But more importantly, connecting as a family around the dinner table is powerful. It encourages connection and helps promote healthier family relationships.

“According to a number of reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), children who eat at least five times a week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home.”

(https://www.huffingtonpost.com/timi-gustafson/family-dinner_b_1898387.html and https://www.centeronaddiction.org/sites/default/files/Family-matters-substance-abuse-and-the-american-family_0.pdf).

This is not a guilt trip, so please don’t read it as one! This is more a wake up call that you have the potential to profoundly impact your children in a positive way simply by making dinner and eating together.

I know, I know…this is all fine and well and you’d love to do that but just don’t know how. This is where I can help! I realize it can seem pretty overwhelming to find things to eat that the entire family will enjoy. I have a few tips up my sleeve that can make eating at home far less time consuming and complicated. My philosophy? Keep it simple and work ahead. You can all eat the same thing but perhaps in a slightly different way.

Let me give you some real suggestions and examples for you to use as a jumping off point to find out what works best for your family.

1. Make a plan. Don’t stop reading now! Seriously, it doesn’t need to be elaborate. My two-week plan typically looks something like this:

Week 1

  • Sunday: Chicken (breasts/nuggets), veggies & rice

  • Monday: Beef (meatballs), veggies, marinara/mozzarella & bread

  • Tuesday: Chicken (shredded or nuggets), veggies, quesadillas/cheese, fruit

  • Wednesday: Beef (hamburgers), buns/cheese, oven fries, fruit

  • Thursday: Beef (tacos), soft/hard shells/cheese, veggies, rice

  • Friday: Pizza (make your own or take out)

  • Saturday: Chicken (breasts/nuggets), potatoes, veggies

Week 2

  • Sunday: Pork (shredded), tortillas/cheese, veggies

  • Monday: Chicken (nuggets), oven fries, veggies

  • Tuesday: Pork (medallions), veggies, rice

  • Wednesday: Beef (tacos), soft/hard shells/cheese, veggies, rice

  • Thursday: Pork (shredded), cheese, rolls, fruit

  • Friday: Chicken (breasts/nuggets), veggies, fruit

  • Saturday: Beef (spaghetti)

*Note: You can schedule leftover night. We typically eat leftovers for lunch.