Although families may be busy with work, school and other activities, gathering together to sit down and eat dinner as a family is important, as it helps families to communicate and bond. Parents may have limited time to plan and prepare healthy, well-balanced meals, but family dinners can be delicious as well as nutritious and easy to make.
Roasted Chicken Dinner
Roasted chicken with potatoes and other vegetables is a classic family meal. Potatoes or other seasonal root vegetables can be added to the roasting pan, which eliminates the need to prepare separate side dishes. Leftovers can be used to make chicken soup, another family favourite.
Pizza may be altered to suit vegetarians and omnivores alike. Children will enjoy chopping ingredients and personalising their own pizzas. This is also a good opportunity to sneak vegetables into picky children's diets. A fresh green salad can be quickly thrown together to accompany the pizza.
Gumbo or Stew
Gumbos and stews are one-pot meals, which make them convenient for busy parents. Almost any type of meat or fish can be used in gumbo, from chicken and sausage to prawns and ham. Gumbos will accommodate all kinds of vegetables as well, including tomatoes, okra, corn, onions and celery.
Sandwiches & Soup
A sandwiches and soup night is an easy family dinner option. Leftover or tinned soup can be served alongside sandwiches. Allowing family members to build their own sandwiches will ensure that everybody is happy, even vegetarians and picky eaters. Best of all, this meal requires little clean-up.
Fajita or Taco Night
A fajita or taco night is a fun way to involve the entire family in making dinner together. Additionally, it requires little cooking, aside from steaming rice and reheating canned beans. Children can assist in grating cheese, slicing vegetables, putting salsa and sour cream in bowls and otherwise setting up your taco or fajita "bar."
When prepared in advance, pasta salad is a great family dinner for summer nights when you don't feel like cooking. Pasta salads are also inexpensive, quick to make, easily adaptable for vegetarians and easily accommodates lots of fresh, healthy vegetables.
Pot roast is another one-pot meal that is delicious in cold weather. Ingredients like fresh herbs, red wine and baby onions can even make pot roast seem rather glamorous. Pot roasts are also quite affordable and easy to prepare. A fresh, acidic salad, such as radishes with vinaigrette, will keep this meal healthy and cut its rich flavours.
Salmon, Rice & Salad
Broiled salmon with rice and salad makes for a light, healthy family meal. As salmon cooks quickly, and rice and salad are not time-intensive dishes, this meal will not take very long to prepare either. It's an excellent choice for families who want to reduce their fat intake without sacrificing flavour.
Lasagne is a family dinner classic and has the added advantage of freezing well. In fall and winter, a lasagne utilising butternut squash, sage, spinach, thyme and other seasonal ingredients will taste delicious when combined with fontina or Parmesan cheese and spicy sausages.
Kids may enjoy making their own hot dogs and hamburgers and building their own shish-kebabs at a family barbecue. Many vegetables, such as mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and tomatoes taste delicious when grilled. While barbecuing may be somewhat time-consuming, your family will enjoy making dinner together.