43% of American families eat together every day according to the Journal of American Medicine. However, a CBS News Poll informs us that 33% of their viewers say the TV is always on during their dinner, with another 27% saying it’s on half the time, or sometimes. Additionally, 5% of CBS’ viewers say that people at their family dinner table are texting, e-mailing or using their cell phones throughout the meal. CBS News analyzes the results, saying, “It used to be the family sat down a table with no distractions. Now, however, the television, e-mail, texting, and cell phones have started to invade our dinner tables.” Sadly, families are spending less time together chatting and catching up, and more time on their cell phones. Rather than lament this statistic, why not attempt to change it? Instead of mealtimes being an individual activity, get everyone in the family involved! This way, everyone will contribute to entire dinner experience, rather than their cell phone bill. One way you can get the whole family involved at dinner time is to serve a dinner that everyone can personalize.
Personalized Plates: Quick Easy Dinner Recipes for Everyone in the Family
Select dishes that everyone can create or customize on their own. This will not only help you get everyone in the family involved, but it will also be beneficial to those who have picky eaters in their family. Picky eaters can design their own dinner, without having to fuss, pout, or leave the dinner table hungry. Here are just a few ideas for personalized dinners:
- Taco night: All you have to do is put out cheese, lettuce, salsa, corn and flour tortillas, with chicken and steak meat, and have everyone make their own taco. This way, everyone in the family can assemble their own dish, exactly the way they like it.
- Pizza: Divide the pizza up into territories and allow everyone to make their own portion. Sausage, mushroom, onion, eggplant, or even white pizza could all be present on one pie!
- Panini: Provide an array of ingredients that work in a Panini. These could involve different types of cheeses, tomato, ham, turkey, bacon, pesto, spinach, or even leftover pasta sauce with meatballs. Everyone in the family can come up with their own grilled sandwich.
- Frittata: Frittatas, like quiche, taste great with basically any ingredients. All you need is an egg base, then you can add spinach, cheese, mushrooms–whatever you want, you can make it your own!
Next time you notice a little texting at the dinner table, you can either try to make dinnertime a cellular-free zone, or simply plan a “personalized plate” night that will allow everyone to get involved. Hopefully, this will strengthen family ties and make for an engaging and fun meal.