4 Great Ways to Spice Up Your Meals With Your Family
By Lizzie Weakley
Mealtime can get boring sometimes when everyone is on the run or tired of the same daily routine. With minimal cost and effort, you can make family meals more fun and interesting at any time of the day. Here are a few suggestions to consider.
Skip the everyday dishes you’ve been using for years and invest in an affordable set of place settings that will add color and zest to the table. Browse themed or contemporary dinnerware sets to find one that fits your home décor or cuisine preferences. Add placemats for a thoughtful accent, and include decorative name tents or affectionate nicknames that will have everyone giggling over their meal. A floral or figurine table centerpiece can put the finishing touches on your dinnertime setup.
Play background music that fits the dining mood or theme. If you are serving enchiladas or Mexican salads, play popular Mexican songs. For a French croissant breakfast of pastries and fruit, turn up the music to French hits or period music. Asian stir fry may prompt an Oriental playlist. Whatever your meal choices, attune the accompanying music to enhance the dining atmosphere. Lyrics in other languages might even prompt the kids to learn some new phrases or expressions.
Add new ingredients or side dishes to your customary meals. Experiment with spices like turmeric and saffron for Middle Eastern specialties. Try an Ethiopian or Eastern European food as a supplemental side dish at first in case some family members don’t like it. If they do enjoy it, that food item could become the main dish at future meals. There are countless different breads, salads, main dishes, and desserts to try, with recipes widely available on the Web and social media.
Let everyone know in advance what the focus of the conversation will be, or have each family member choose the topic for upcoming meals. A family might have its own book club, with each person reading a book weekly and discussing it over a leisurely weekend meal. You might try a verbal version of charades, with every family member adopting the persona of a famous person that is described, followed by a well-known statement or short speech that person is known for. Then, see if everyone can guess the secret identity.
Mealtimes don’t have to be routine or boring. Invent new ways of changing the types of meals or the way they are served to pique everyone’s interest.
More About the Author
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.
*Photos courtesy of Lizzie Weakley