This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
More than a decade ago I decided to leave my full-time work as a corporate financial accountant to be a full-time mother. My husband and I have four kids, and despite us both having flexible, family-supportive employers, the demands of my job were not compatible with the goals I had for my family.
I think any family can have a great home life when the parents work, but my husband’s job is more than an hour away from our house, and my job had several busy periods throughout the year where I had twelve-hour days in the office. In February each year I rarely saw the sun or my kids. It just wasn’t working for me. I was tired, missed my family, and we ate whatever was quick and easy.
One of the best things about being at home has been the family dinner table. It was how both my husband and I were raised even with his dual-income family, and my divorced, working-parent home. I was surprised at how few of my mom friends had family meals each night. Busy work schedules and kids active in sports and other evening activities for church or school are the most common reasons for staggered family meals, or even eating in the car.
I in no way feel superior because we have family meals. Every family does the best they can! But, I can tell you that the downside of shopping, cooking, and cleaning up after seven dinners a week does have some upside.
- We all feel very connected to each other. A family dinner table gives us a relaxed atmosphere to talk about our day. Not every conversation, nor everything I cook, is worthy of a picture on Instagram or Pinterest, but those little moments together add up over the year to me really knowing my kids.
- We save money. As much as I dread meal planning, prep, and cleanup, I love the money it frees up! There’s no more economical way to feed six people than to make it yourself. So when I do want carry-out or we want to go to a restaurant, there’s money in the budget for it because of all the other nights I cooked.
- I know they are getting good nutrition. As kids get older and make their own food choices outside the home, family dinner is a way to know they are eating at least one healthful meal each day. Teens more than ever need to get enough lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. One way I know my teen daughters are getting good nutrition is by serving milk at dinner. Milk is an inexpensive way to get protein, calcium, and Vitamin D–nutrients that help them grow, maintain strong bones and teeth, and have the right kind of energy.
Holley Grainger nutrition expert and registered Dietician suggest small changes that can have a big impact on your family’s health. Drinking three glasses of milk a day meets nutritional requirements that everyone has from ages nine and up, even at my age.
At the dinner table, pay attention to calories and nutrition from what you drink and serve your kids. Beverages alone contribute a lot of both calories and potential nutrients to your kids’ diets. Or not! As consumption of coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sports drinks increases, milk consumption decreases. This is creating a nutrient gap for your kids and for you as well.
Most Americans consume only a single serving of milk each day, when most people really need three servings a day. Learn more about milk and good health here: Why You Should Drink Milk for Good Health
I’ve enjoyed learning more about the good milk can do for my teens, and I’m happy to serve it to them every night at dinner. You can learn more by going to MilkTruth.com for more information.