In this age of Pinterest and The Food Network, it can seem as if everyone loves to cook. Not only that, but they’re all scrambling to show everyone else just how appetizing, kid-friendly and all-around-wonderful their breakfasts, lunches and dinners can be. It can almost feel like a dirty little secret to admit “I hate to cook!” Here are tips to combat your dislike of cooking.
Before I became a parent, I thought I would never cook separate meals for different members of my family. “What a waste of time!” I thought. “I’ll never become one of those short-order-cook parents!” I told myself. “Our kids will eat anything we put in front of them!” I told my husband. Fast forward 13+ years and I have eaten my words. Many times. And in many ways.
Oh, how I long for the days when my kids ate what I put in front of them. They weren’t strong enough to open the fridge, couldn’t reach the cookies in the pantry, and had no money of their own and no transportation to get to the nearest fast food restaurant. There are zillions of books, websites and blogs dedicated to feeding our babies, toddlers and preschoolers healthy foods. But what happens when they become tweens and teens and make many of their food choices when we aren’t there to help them make wise decisions?
I have 3 kids, ages 12, 10 and 5. They are at different developmental stages, so I have to be creative when it comes to finding things we can all do (and enjoy!) together. Bike riding is a hit. So is going out to eat and swimming. But this year, I’m trying something new: gardening as a family.
Eating dinner together as a family is a top priority in my family. Except when I have to work late. Or have a meeting. Or when my kids have soccer practice. Or a band concert. Or a study group. Or a softball game. Or…Well, you get what I’m saying. It’s one thing to WANT to spend time as a family, and quite another thing to actually DO IT. Good intentions and good food can only get us so far when it comes to shared meal times. So what’s a family to do when sports, work, volunteer commitments and music lessons get in the way of family dinner?
Mental health disorders are exceedingly common. According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), 43.8 million adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness in a given year. That’s 1 in 5 adults. Every year. And 20% of youth (ages 13-18) have a mental health condition. In short, mental illness affects all of us: whether it’s personally, as a parent, child, friend, co-worker or neighbor.
Eating together is one of the most powerful things you can do as a family. But what if you’ve never gotten into the habit of eating together and don’t know how to start? What if you’re the only one in the house interested in making this change? What if life just feels too hectic to make a commitment like that? Here are a few tips about how to start!
Everywhere we turn people are talking about bodies: Strong bodies, sick bodies, short bodies, pregnant bodies. And whether we like it or not, our kids are hearing and seeing all this talk about bodies – and what’s good, bad; attractive, ugly. It’s important for us, as parents, to add our voices to the mix, and not let the media have the only voice shaping how our children view their bodies. And as many of us adults struggle with body image ourselves, any strategies we utilize in teaching our children to have a positive body image just might help our own cause as well.
Changing anything about our behavior is hard. Really hard. Even something simple like switching up where we put our car keys can be rough. So it makes sense that making big changes can feel like monumental tasks. Luckily, there’s been a lot of research on making changes that stick. Here’s what works!
We’ve all heard the research: Eating dinner as a family is really important. As in, families who eat dinner together have kids who fare better in all sorts of measures including mental health and well-being. But what do you do once you get your family to sit down and eat? Knowing what to talk about and how to go about doing it can be frustrating.