1. The attraction of bean babies and restaurant play lands
2. Opinions of children
For the most part, society now dictates fast food as an OK alternative. The classic 1950s image of a tablecloth dinner has given way to paper bags dumped onto plastic trays. To sum it up, at the 1950s table there always was time to actually chew your food, not just inhale it.
The requirements of work and meeting the commitments of extracurricular activities for kids have created a new routine. With time being of the essence, discussion around the dinner table has become deciding if you really want the number three at the counter - then whether or not to super-size.
Nutritionists remind us that proper diet begins with proper planning. Meals can be prepared the night before and ready to heat, serve and eat to 10 to 15 minutes. These meals may not pass for a holiday feast, but at least you don't have to wolf it down from the seat of your car.
Scrambled eggs, anyone?
Another option is allowing your children (and husband) to learn how to cook for themselves. In our house it's one of those survival of the fittest merit badges I award. The person who finds the most inventive uses for peanut butter wins the badge. Seriously, it is a good idea for everyone to at least understand that they can attempt to make something for themselves. Don't set your expectations too high, though. My husband's first attempt at scrambled eggs involved using a cup of milk with each egg.
It's always a challenge balancing your work, family and additional duties of being a member of the human race. Throw in, not just one, but three meals a day for everyone, and the real fun begins. Just remember that the time you spend at a meal with your family is very precious. Whether sitting around your dining room table or a table in a restaurant where the funny clown lives, you still need to take time to share your day. Let the moment be defined not by the food, but by the family.
Jo Ellen Barnhart is the working mother of three boys. She is a freelance writer and owner of a home-based marketing and public relations business.