9 New Family Meal Ideas
It is so easy to fall into a comfortable rut and find yourself making the same meals for your family over and over. Sure, most of these are meals that everyone likes, and they are quick and easy, but most likely the reason you landed on this page is because you are getting tired of the same old thing and you want to find some new family meal ideas. Fantastic! Check out the 9 suggestions below.
1. At least one week a month choose a theme and stick to it. Maybe your family enjoys Thai food. Find some Thai recipes that are fairly easy to make then Monday through Thursday prepare those meals. Friday night go out to dinner at a Thai restaurant and discuss the meals of the week compared to the food from the restaurant. At the very least, the family will form some opinions about Thai food and you will probably have at least a couple Thai recipes that you can make again in future. It can be kind of fun to announce to the family out of the blue that this is going to be Thai week. To further increase the interest you can do a few minutes of research about the country or region you choose that you can share with the family each night at dinner. What an easy way to mix things up and give a little culture to your family. A few other theme related family meal ideas would be: Cajun food, Fresh Mex, Real Italian, Caribbean Cuisine, and so on. The sky is the limit - have fun with themes!
2. Have a family choice week. Assign each member of the family a day of the week where they get to decide what's for dinner. If their family meal ideas are higher in fat than your preference you can insist that if the family is going to eat this tonight we have all got to go outside and get some real exercise together after dinner. This can be fun because it allows everyone to have a say in what you eat, and you can teach your kids some nutritional values. If a child realizes that a high-fat meal is going to mean the family has to go for a 30 minute walk after dinner, they may choose more carefully the next time.
3. At least once a week find and try a brand new recipe. Whether it is a new weekend breakfast recipe, a new dessert, or a whole new dinner idea, you will find that this keeps thing fresh. After you prepare this new recipe, have each person in the house give their opinion of it. If you find that everyone likes it you can keep that recipe in your menu planner for future use. You can even add notes in the review section under the new recipe to help you remember what everyone thought of it.
4. One dinner a week keep the stove turned off. Create a nice presentation with a big platter of fresh fruits and veggies, some gourmet crackers, and a couple new spreads that nobody has tried. This can be an interesting mustard from a local deli, or a homemade hummus recipe that you saw in a magazine. The raw food platter will be a healthy dinner, easy to clean up, and probably out of the ordinary. It can also be fun to experiment with some less common fruits and veggies and expose your family to some foods they haven't tried before.
5. Another fun family meal idea is to pack a picnic. Even when the weather is bad it can be a lot of fun to spread out a blanket in the living room and eat picnic food. Make sure the TV is off, use paper plates, and bring your picnic basket. Meals that are out of the ordinary like this can help bring a family closer together and create lasting memories. Teenage children may roll their eyes about it, but when they look back on it as they get older they will appreciate it. These are the meals they will remember.
6. Taste test night. Do you have two recipes for lasagna or two recipes for chili? It is a little more work, but make them both. Then, have each family member try both recipes and rate which one they like better. Even if it is a split vote you might find that you can combine the things from each recipe that everyone likes and create your own, even better, recipe to use in the future.
7. Family pizza night - no, not the delivery kind. Buy the personal size premade crusts, and all of your family's favorite ingredients. Have qualified helpers from the family chop veggies, grate cheese, and then put the ingredients out in bowls. Then let each family member get involved creating their own perfect masterpiece. Finish off the dinner by making old fashioned root beer floats. How long has it been since you've done that?!
8. Delegate the work. I know this family meal idea will be popular with you! At least once or twice a month, assign a couple members of your family, who don't normally do the cooking, the task of planning and preparing the meal. This can be a couple teenagers, or maybe Dad and one of the younger kids. Let them have full control over the kitchen and see what they can come up with. In bigger families you might even generate a little healthy competition to see who can come up with the best meal. What a win-win for you! Not only will you get a break for the evening, but the other family members will start to realize just how much work it is to put a meal on the table. Make sure their duty is not complete until the dishes are done and the kitchen is once again ready for the next meal.
9. You've worked hard! It is okay to let someone else cook for you now and then. Go out to eat. To make it a little more interesting let each family member choose a restaurant, throw the names in a hat, and draw to decide where you are going. Tell everyone that if they choose something reasonably healthy you will stop for ice cream on the way home. At the ice cream shop grab a few extra spoons and let everyone try the flavors that others have chosen. What's the hurry? Take your time at the ice cream shop, treats like this can be great for family bonding and lasting memories.