Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reclaim the Dinner Hour with Online Meal Planning Tool

(MS) -- Today's families are busier and more budget conscious than ever. Each family member has a host of activities filling the calendar and responsibilities that make it challenging to find quality time together. And with everyone working harder to make ends meet, the most significant "connecting time" can get shoved out of family life -- dinnertime!

Planning a weekly dinner menu, shopping for groceries on a budget and preparing meals at home are very difficult to accomplish amid busy workloads. Oftentimes, families resort to grabbing a meal on the go or fast food in a pinch. However, these strategies aren't money or health saving, and they do not promote quality time as a family. It takes intentional planning and preparation to ensure that dinner is shared as a family on a regular basis.

There are ways to make meal planning and dining at home as a family possible and easy. Here are a few ideas:

Get the stress off of your plate and healthy food on it. Since planning and shopping for regular family dinners can be so stressful, most families just need a practical tool that is convenient and easy-to-use. A very easy and organized system that is helping families to solve the dinner dilemma is E-Mealz provides a variety of easy weekly meal plans, complete with delicious dinner recipes and a corresponding grocery list that you just print and go!

Have a plan before heading out. Write your own plan or have it done for you. It does wonders to have it off your mind and on a piece of paper. Shopping with a list in hand -- and sticking to it -- drastically reduces the number of trips to the grocery store, saves time shopping and limits impulse buys. Going to the grocery store without a list or plan is money down the drain. The number one way to save money on your grocery bill is to have a plan ... period!

View dinnertime as more than just eating. Breakfast may be the most important meal in terms of nutritional value and jump starting the day, but dinner could be the most important for an entirely different reason: strengthening your family. Mealtime gives family members a chance to converse, connect, and relate to each other -- face-to-face and side-by-side around the dinner table. Recent research reveals that the number of family dinners a teen has in a typical week is a powerful indicator of substance abuse risk. Teens who have fewer than three family dinners in a typical week are more than twice as likely to do poorly in school.

Savor good food while you savor your most important relationships. The dinner hour at home is the prime, and typically the only, opportunity to connect with your family -- discussing, laughing, and lingering around the table. Making dinner happen sends the message to your kids, "You matter, our family matters, and you are worth the effort and loved!" Strong families can be raised eating on paper plates. A good meal, a sturdy table, and your family -- put those three ingredients together every night, stir in some love -- and that's all you need!

To learn how to reclaim the dinner hour for your family, visit

CAPTION: Save money and reclaim your family time with a practical on-line meal planning service.

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