Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dinnertime Is Key Component to Successful Parenting

Dinnertime Is Key Component to Successful Parenting
(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! Only one in five American families regularly sit down to dinner together. Family Day, celebrated this year on Sept. 27, is a national recognition that dinnertime is key to parenting power!

However, 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 healthy nor cost-conscious, 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.com. 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 at Columbia University 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. Furthermore, Columbia University has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.

* Savor good food while you savor your most important relationships. Jane DeLaney, founder and President of E-Mealz.com, says, "Instead of crowding your full plate, we think that families should simplify. Making time for a shared meal around the dinner table means more time together ... more enjoying, more embracing, more capturing moments, more memories, more eternal perspective, more reflection and prayer. It means more of all the things that truly matter." To make dinner at home an intentional part of your parenting has a positive and permanent impact on your children. DeLaney says that the goal of E-Mealz is not only a budget-based grocery buying and meal planning resource, but making dinner a regular part of family life to help strengthen families all around the nation.

To learn how to reclaim the dinner hour for your family, visit www.e-mealz.com.

CAPTION: Family Day is a celebration of your family and could be the start of a new way of life in your home.

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