The Art of Family Dinner

December 06, 2022 6 min read

The Art of the Family Dinner: Cooking and Connecting in the Kitchen

As a busy dad, you probably approach dinner a bit randomly. Maybe you warm up some TV dinners or order pizza for the hundredth time. After all, you never planned to be a chef, and you and your kids are busy. It's understandable; a lot of dads are in the same position. And your kids aren't going to complain about ordering pizza two or three times a week. But maybe you feel like you're missing out on something.

Unfortunately, far too many families are skipping meals together and letting this age-old tradition die. Sitting in front of the TV with your phones out while you eat, or going your separate ways, or dining alone has become far too convenient. Well, it's time to bring back this important tradition in your life! It's not just a matter of manly pride; family dinners could help your children become better people.


Family Dinner: A Tradition You Should Bring Back

Have you ever thought back with fondness about your family dinners growing up? There's a reason: eating together is one of the best and healthiest things a family can do. Moreover, it's a tradition that provides your children with many benefits. Here are a few that will interest you.

Helps Your Children Eat Healthier

When you make and eat meals with your children daily, you encourage them to eat healthier. In fact, a 2018 study published in the JAMA Network Open stated that children who eat with their families are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and less likely to eat fast food and sugary drinks. This result occurred because they got used to eating healthy foods with their family and came to prefer them over junk.

Manages Mental Health Concerns

Unfortunately, many mental health issues start young in a child's life. However, studies by the American Health Association found that children were less stressed and experienced far fewer disorders if they ate together regularly. That's because they had an outlet for sharing their issues by talking with their parents during meals. It also helped foster stronger emotional connections and better self-esteem.

Improves Socialization Skills

Are your children shy with others and struggle to communicate? Eating family dinners together can help them socialize more effectively by forcing them to interact with you. Even if they're comfortable with you already, talking regularly can enhance their overall communication and make it easier to talk to others. It's also been shown to help with bullying, as children may share these experiences and get support from their parents, including suggestions for managing a bully at school.

Cooking Together Will Improve Your Relationships

While eating dinner as a family will provide many benefits, did you know that preparing meals with your kids can also build stronger emotional bonds? Even getting your kids to put out the plates or help with simple prep steps will strengthen your relationships and bring you closer together. In our opinion, a genuinely manly dad does what he can to give his children a happy household.

Prepping Together: Something Your Kids Will Love

Now, we know your kids will complain when you start asking them to help you prepare a meal. That's just how it is at first; they'll resent stepping away from their bedrooms and doing something with their “lame” dad. But here's the secret many kids don't want you to know: even if they say you're lame, they still look up to and love you. Furthermore, they want you to ask them to do things with you.

As a result, it should take only a few days of preparing meals together for them to start looking forward to doing this with you. They'll love helping you prepare ingredients, putting together the meals, tracking them as they cook, and serving. It'll give you something fun to do after work and school, teach them essential life skills, and bring you closer together as people.

Meal Planning: Another Educational and Bonding Experience

Have you ever sat down and planned a week's worth of meals? It might not seem very interesting at first to many on-the-go dads. However, it can save you a lot of time and money by making it easier to plan your shopping trips and each daily dinner. Just as importantly, it can bring you and your children together when you sit down with them and let them help you plan each meal, including breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

Planning together helps your children feel like they're contributing to your family and have a say in their upbringing. For example, they may suggest fun and unexpected meals, and you can add them as a Friday reward for their hard work at school. Even better, they'll learn essential planning skills they can take into adulthood. Every dad's goal should be to help their children gain true independence.

Easy Recipes Any Dad Can Make (Yes, That Means You)

We know that learning to cook will seem like learning quantum physics at first. Your first attempts to cook complex meals will probably end in the fire alarm going off and a quick trip out for dinner. Too many dads make the mistake of jumping head-first into cooking without easing into cooking with more straightforward and manageable recipes.

Well, we're here to help! We found a few simple recipes online that even the least experienced chef dad can learn to make in almost no time. Most are kid-friendly and relatively healthy, meaning your kids won't eat junk daily. However, these recipes will trick them into thinking they're eating junk, and they'll love every minute. That's a win-win for you and the kids!

Chicken Caesar Wraps

These delicious wraps should take no more than 10-20 minutes to make and require almost no cooking. Instead, you'll buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it, and add it to large tortilla shells. Then, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and croutons in the wrap, add a tasty Caesar dressing, and leave romaine lettuce and diced cherry tomatoes in bowls for those that would like them.

We love this meal because you can make it in a few minutes without much hard work. Even better, your kids will enjoy it. Try to get them to add a little lettuce and tomato to the wraps to give them more taste. Even if they resist, having those ingredients may inspire them to try, especially if you add some to your own wrap.


Chicken and Rice Soup

This delicious soup recipe produces more than enough servings for your family and even leaves leftovers for lunches. It's more advanced than the Caesar wrap and includes butter, carrots, celery sticks, onions, green pepper, chicken stock, salt, pepper, dried thyme, brown rice, shredded chicken, and frozen peas. Add all the ingredients into a large pot and cook for 20 minutes.

As you can see by the ingredients list, this meal gives your children a hearty range of foods, from delicious chicken to multiple veggies. If your kids are pickier eaters, you can easily remove the onions and green pepper and still make it a tasty and unforgettable meal. Then, serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich to give your kids something more to eat or simply with your favorite bakery loaf of multigrain bread.


Veggie Lentil Sloppy Joes

While most kids love a good sloppy Joe, they have all the nutritional value of a paper plate. However, this delicious alternative is not only healthier but easy to make. First, mix lentils, tomato space, spices, veggie broth, corn, garlic, onions, and collard greens into a greased pan and sizzle until cooked. Next, bake your hamburger buns in a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5-10 minutes and serve the filling.


As long as you don't tell your kids what's on these sloppy Joes, we promise that most will love them. Cut out the garlic and onions if your kids are pickier, but cook some for yourself as they add to the flavor. It's a quick and easy meal you don't have to feel ashamed of eating, and your kids will get rich protein and other nutrients with each bite. Serve with oven-baked French fries to make it even more fun.


Give Your Kids the Meals They Deserve

We know that this process is going to take a lot of work. After all, your kids might fight back against eating together because it cuts into their video game or phone time. But they'll quickly look forward to sitting down with their cool dad and trying out new and delicious meals. There's nothing manlier than taking care of your kids and ensuring they're healthy and happy.

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