Today’s show is all about the benefits and tips for memorable family mealtimes. Sharing family meals is good for body and soul, but making it to the dinner table night after night can be a challenge. To make mealtime a regular reality, I’m joined this week by Brianne DeRosa from The Family Dinner Project.
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Brianne DeRosa is the Content Manager for The Family Dinner Project. She’s the co-author of an incredible new cookbook, Eat, Laugh, Talk! The Family Dinner Playbook. This book is over-the-top awesome with 52 weeks of easy recipes, hundreds of conversation starters and hilarious games designed specifically for the family dinner table. In this episode, Brianne and I share our family dinner experiences from childhood AND today, give tips to make family dinner happen more often in spite of barriers like picky eaters and hectic family schedules, and we cut through those barriers with easy solutions and delicious recipes including Skillet Chicken with Goat Cheese Sauce. On the show, we also talk about The Family Dinner Project, a non-profit initiative begun in 2010 to champion family dinner as a way to connect through food, fun, and conversation. Join us to learn how your family dinners can become easier and more memorable!
“Three to five nights per week is ideal for family dinners, but if you can only do one, then make it a great one.”
– Brianne DeRosa
Cookbook Giveaway: We’re giving away a copy of Eat, Laugh, Talk! The Family Dinner Playbook; 52 Weeks of Easy Recipes, Engaging Conversation, and Hilarious Games by The Family Dinner Project, Lynn Barendson, Brianne DeRosa, Anne Fishel, and Shelly London to one lucky U.S. winner. Tell me about your fondest mealtime memories from when you were a kid or your favorite thing about family mealtime today. We’ll pick one U.S. winner at random on October 16th.
- How The Family Dinner Project has built a movement of food, fun, and conversation
- Brianne’s work at The Family Dinner Project over the past five years, where she manages web and social media content … and she’s also a busy mom to two sons, ages 10 and 13
- What family dinner was like for Liz and Brianne as kids, and what it looks like today
- Dealing with technology during family dinner
- From The Family Dinner Project: resourceful ways to use devices to further the connection between family members
- The Family Dinner Project’s new book is filled with resources for families and includes 52 weeks of recipes, tips and solutions from real families
- How the book gives weekly strategies for combating the most common obstacles to family dinner
- Three of the biggest challenges (and solutions) that parents face with family dinner:
- Lack of time: Solutions include managing the family’s schedule using meal planning and “fallback” meals, trying “split-shift” dinners, and sitting down together for breakfast, lunch, or even a snack.
- Picky eaters and special diets: Solutions revolve around using variations of “build-your-own” meals, like a taco bar, salad bar, pasta bar, etc.
- Enhancing the connection piece: Solutions include being intentional about conversations and connecting with each other. Check out these random conversation starters from FDP.
- How to implement “fallback” meals with ingredients that are easy to keep on hand
- What it means to “lean on a dinner village” for meal prep
- Brianne’s recipe for Skillet Chicken with Goat Cheese Sauce, using boneless, skinless chicken, garlic, crushed tomatoes, goat cheese, basil, salt and pepper, and olive oil
- The health benefits of eating family dinner together for children AND their parents
- A random question from the Mason jar about the one pantry item that Brianne couldn’t live without
My email: [email protected]
- The Parents On Demand Network
How to find Brianne: www.thefamilydinnerproject.org
Eat, Laugh, Talk! The Family Dinner Playbook by The Family Dinner Project, Lynn Barendson, Brianne DeRosa, Anne Fishel, and Shelly London
Have a question about the show or a suggestion for a future show? Ask away by posting a comment below or joining my Podcast Posse
A family meal memory I love – quirky as it was – is when our family would go on road trips and lunch time came around. We’d stop at a picnic area but we weren’t allowed to sit down at the picnic tables as we ate… we had to walk around to keep our circulation going! I was mortified as a kid. Now I just laugh about it!
A favorite family meal time memory is on Sunday’s we would go to my grandparents house for dinner (big meal at noon) and supper (cold cuts at 5pm on the dot). My grandfather was from Germany so a lot of the traditions carried over from there to here. We always had a salad with the big meal – and most of the time it was slab bacon with endive. SOOO Good! We had to share the salads with the person next to us. If – as a kid – you were lucky enough to get seated between my aunt and uncle, you got to steal most of the bacon out of BOTH salads! Nothing better as a kid! Sometimes the stealing would get out of control – then we got the evil look from my grandfather. Oops!
Michele Allman says
Breakfast for Dinner
A family meal memory – we always had dinner together at 7 pm. My friends knew not to call the house at that time. It was always a joke between them that my parents were strict about the phone not ringing at the house during dinner time.
My favorite childhood dinner time memory is having breakfast for dinner at my cousins home. We never did that at my home. It was so much fun and I incorporate breakfast for dinner in my menu now.
theresa kelliher says
My favorite memory of mealtime as a kid was all three of us kids pitching in for homemade pizza and tailoring the pizza to our specific tastes. My mealtime memory as an adult is when we put a bowl of paper strips in the center of the table, asking “What is your favorite color”, “If you could be an animal, which would you choose?” It is fun to hear the kids’ answers and realize how fast their “favorite” anything changes.
Pauli S. says
We also loved (and still do) breakfast for dinner. One of my other favorite memories is calling our neighbors and pooling our dinners together. We always had a great time with lots of laughs.
Krystal Watson says
I love when my daughter actually enjoys something I’ve made.
I loved making fresh pasta with my grandmother in Italy.
Sonya Bishop says
We always had dinner together around the table served family style. Each meal was made from scratch from what we raised on our farm. We would then have popcorn one night a week after dinner when we would get to watch the weekly Disney movie on television. You guessed it, old fashioned kettle popped corn! Us kids would get our bed pillows and lay them in the living room floor, elbows propped on them for the show!
I have great family memories of dinner together. My favorite thing was our huge round table and the lazy Susan that held all our meals.
Kelly Sullivan says
I loved making homemade ice cream with my Dad or homemade pies with my sister!
My favorite family mealtime memories are only humorous to me now with the perfection of hindsight and the fact that as a mom myself now I can completely sympathize with what I put my own poor parents through. As a kid I used to get into a lot of trouble at the dinner table for instigating mischief with my two sisters. Talking loudly, laughing and making faces at them, you name it, I did it! For some reason I felt a strong need to put on a free show whenever we sat down to eat together as a family. My dad was a military officer who worked long hours and wanted peace and quiet at mealtime when he came home. We could talk about our day but had to be respectful Of course, as the middle sister, I just couldn’t seem to live by this simple mandate. I cringe now recalling my disruptive antics. Well, after lots of shouted threats of no dessert, the loss of prized possessions or grounding, my parents finally came up with an idea they hoped would help teach me to curtail the dinnertime nonsense: they would segregate me to eat my dinner by myself on a little stool at the opposite end of the kitchen right next to our family dog’s bowls! I would have to eat my meal with no one to appreciate my antics but our beloved cocker spaniel, munching away on her own kibble. My parents both still howl with laughter whenever they retell to friends and family this unique punishment they thought up! They used to say to me that if I couldn’t act like the young lady I was then I could eat with the dog. And, thankfully, it worked! I learned very quickly to act with much more decorum at mealtimes!
And now I’m howling with laughter! My dad also wanted “peace and quiet” at the table. And I have two sisters as well. I’m the “pickle in the middle.” Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate! Oh, and we had a Boston Terrier 🙂
I used to live making a mess with the flour and my mom was so patient
Deborah Gilden says
My favorite meal was Friday night Shabbos meal with challah from my uncle’s bakery, chicken soup and matza balls, gefilte fish, roast chicken or even better, brisket in gravy and rice or kugel. Every Friday night.
We didn’t eat dinners together at the table a lot when I was younger. We struggle with it now that we have a child as well. But, when we do eat at the table, I notice that my 10 yo daughter always tells me stories from school or somewhere else. It is like food and a table brings out her talkative side!
Lori S says
I like when my family works together to make a meal and get it to the table. Working together is a positive thing we can do before we even get to the table, and the kids are more eager to eat what they helped make and take pride in their accomplishment.