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10 Ways to Make Family Dinner FUN {Plus New Meal Plan}


It’s almost here!  Monday night, September 24th is the official celebration of Family DayA Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM! 

It’s wonderful that so many of you already eat dinner together, and this day is a day to talk with your kids about the reasons you do!

But some of you find it more challenging that rewarding!  I completely get it. The challenge changes from toddlers whining to your teenagers not being there at all, but there are a few things you can do to help your kids want to participate at any age.

  1. Make sure everyone can be there!  While this isn’t always possible, having as many people from your family present is always more fun!
  2. Serve food you know your kids love!  It doesn’t’ always have to be roast and potatoes for dinner, have waffles, scrambled eggs, or homemade pizza.
  3. Have a conversation jar!  Corny? Yes! But my kids like this so much, that they have literally made their own.
  4. Play a game.  You can still practice table manners, while having fun with table games like “Finish the Story” or “Telephone.”
  5. Have a theme!  Whether your theme is being whisked off to a foreign country, or simply RED NIGHT, having a theme will bring laughter to the table, and possible education!
  6. Make it simple.  A five course meal doesn’t’ exactly appeal to toddlers.  Keep it simple, thereby keeping it fun.
  7. Play “restaurant”.  Print a real live menu and order your food from your kids! Let them plate it and serve it to you, or vice versa.
  8. Take the night off from nagging.  Don’t worry if your kids don’t clean their plate, or take 3 bites of their veggies.  For one night, look the other way, let it go.  Relax a little.
  9. Have a Dinner bar: Potato bar, pasta bar, oatmeal bar, salad bar, crepe bar, or any type of bar allows kids to have a little more control over their choices, within the realms of your meal.
  10. Have a progressive meal.   Starting with appetizers on the front porch, move to the main dish at the dining table, followed by dessert on a field of grass with a picnic blanket.

Whatever you decide to do, do it together and enjoy dinner time. Don’t dread it!

Here are some meal ideas to get you started on eating more meals together:

Monday breakfast: ELT: Egg, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich!

10 Ways to Make Family Dinner FUN {Plus New Meal Plan}. 10 Fool-Proof Ways to Make Family Dinner a Blast!

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday ELT Turkey Wrap with hummus lettuce carrotsOranges Kiwi and Almonds Sloppy Lentils
Tuesday Cinnamon Apple Pancakes PB& Apple SandwichPeachesPeppers Cucumber Sandwiches Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Wednesday Peanut Butter Toast and Orange Juice Pancake Sandwiches Greek Yogurt, Berries and Peaches Classic Burritos
Thursday Breakfast Avocado Burritos Penne Pasta Salad with Peas and cantaloupe Apples and Peanut butter Portobello Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Friday Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Veggie loaded turkey Hoagie with Apples String Cheese and Peppers Pesto Tilapia with Mango Salad

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Just printed off your meal plan. We are stuck in a rut and sometimes I make meals too complicated. All of these are super simple, easy, and well-balanced. Thank you!