We’re pleased to introduce the Bucks, a family of four who are committed to family dinners, despite busy schedules, because of the potential benefits to their children.
Jamie and Sara Buck and kids Alex (13) and Katie (8). The Bucks live in Leawood, Kansas.
Sara says that the family has been learning about the importance of family dinners, especially the research that suggests that kids who eat dinner with their families perform better academically and are more resilient than their peers. They’re trying to prioritize a sit-down dinner together at the dining room table three times a week.
The Bucks share one of the most common challenges highlighted by families in our Real Family Dinner Projects series: Finding the time to eat together around the kids’ activity schedules. Additionally, when they do eat together, it can be a struggle to keep things feeling fresh — although they plan meals and do their best to stay organized, the family can find themselves in a rut where they’re eating the same preferred foods over and over again. Sara says “It’s a struggle to find dinners we all like and aren’t tired of!”
Meal planning has worked pretty well for the Bucks, but since monotony and time management are both challenges for them, they often take a little help from a delivery service that provides them with new recipes to try and all the ingredients for their meals. “We cook together and then eat together,” Sara says. “Having a meal delivery service just makes that easier.” She stresses that the family has always benefited from meal planning of any kind, though, whether delivery or not. “Having a plan for what we eat each night takes the stress out of getting ready for dinnertime and allows us to make family dinner work.”
8-year-old Katie sums up the universal family preference: “I have never met a burger I didn’t like!” In addition to trying new variations on their favorite burgers, the Bucks all enjoy an easy slow cooker recipe for Green Chile Pork, which they serve with tortillas and black beans. Sara says the method is to simply combine cubes of pork tenderloin in the slow cooker with canned green chiles, fajita spices and prepared salsa, then cook for about 5 hours for a fast and tasty family meal.
Although as kids get older and busier, it can be more difficult to make time for family dinners, Sara and Jamie are finding that dinner becomes more important to them as parents. “We really value this family dinner time as a ‘no devices, no distractions’ moment in our day when we can connect as a family…we have definitely seen an impact in having this connection time every night, and we can tell that the ritual of having dinner together makes our son feel loved and more secure during the tough teenage years.”
The Best Part:
Talking with each other and being together is the important part of family dinners for the Buck family. At this time of year, they also sometimes find opportunities to extend dinnertime into a longer bonding experience with a holiday movie after they eat. “We all enjoy eating together and it’s always an enjoyable part of our day.”
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Tags: busy, cooking with kids, meal planning, real family dinner projects, schedules