Simply put Laurie David's book, The Family Dinner, is amazing. It is smart, insightful, and motivating. Many of us have gotten into the habit of just getting through dinner... it's been a long day, there is homework, bedtime for the kids, etc. etc. etc. This book reminded you to enjoy it, enjoy family time, and enjoy your food.
Then to get the ball rolling she offers steps to follow for a successful family dinner. My little ones really got into this. Kids love rules and following directions even if you think they don't...it just matters where the rules are coming from. These rules are fun. I tried forever to get my kids to drink more water. Well, if it is written in a book then it must be so!!! Step Seven is water only at the table- not bottled water, but water in a clear glass pitcher garnished with lemons, cucumbers, oranges, or whatever. My girls never looked back! My little one lovingly refers to water with cucumbers as "pickle water."
My daughters also really got into setting the table. Laurie's book makes dinner a production and they love it. One night we made Vietnamese Soup and my girls turned our dining room into a restaurant, complete with menus. Speaking of the recipes, which are by Kirtin Uhrenholdt, they are easy and healthy and GOOD! So far we have tried the Vietnamese Soup (Pho), the Pea Nutty Noodles, and the Tortilla Soup. She stresses letting kids help in the kitchen and shows ways that they can.
The book's layout and colorful pictures draw children into the dinner plan as well. They become very interested in the idea of creating something special. Dinner SHOULD be special and not only about eating. It is about getting to know your family. Laurie makes conversation a big part of her dinners and provides tips to get that conversation started, even after-dinner games. We wrote down a bunch of her conversation starters and "would you rather" questions and put them into a jar. My girls love to pass it around the table.
Ok I need to stop. I am going to give away all the good stuff- and there is a lot. You will enjoy reading this book and you will read it cover to cover and come back for more. It will become like a guide book for your family dinner and a healthy life in general. She reminds us to look at where our food comes from and to be conscious of what we put into our bodies for ourselves as well as the environment. You will see things differently after reading it. Food is such a big part of culture and family and we need to embrace it. We also need to take the time to embrace our family. Sit down, talk to our children about their day, and enjoy a meal together.
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