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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Value Meals

There are lots of benefits to hiring me as a personal chef. 

There's all the time you save since I do the meal planning, shopping and cooking.  Clean-up is a breeze. 

There's the ability to eat healthy, delicious meals with the effort of popping a frozen dinner from the grocery store in the microwave (without all those ingredients that you can't pronounce).

But my favorite benefit that I can give to families is the ability to eat a good meal together.  It's the way dinner is supposed to be eaten.

A great shirt from Life is Good.
Growing up, it was rare if our family didn't eat dinner together.  I know times have changed, but my family still tries to eat together as much as we can--actually sitting down at the dinner table and sharing a meal together.  We talk about our days, listen to music and talk about food (you can teach kids a lot about food and cooking at dinnertime).  We go through Jake's folder from school to see what he did that day. 

Some people feel that they just don't have the time to prepare a family dinner so they go out to eat.  But as someone in an article I once read said:
If you think about it, if you count packing the family into the car, driving to the Applebee's, standing in line for 20 minutes, getting to your table, waiting for your food, checking out, paying the bill of 40-50 dollars, and then driving back home, have you saved any time at all?  No, definitely not.  And you've probably spent four times the money you would have at home.
I have no problem with going out to eat--I enjoy it.  But when families make it the norm, it just doesn't make sense.  It not only can be more expensive, but less nutritious. 

But families are constantly on the move--running kids to rehearsal, running to meetings, running home from work.  A recent study shows that 19% of American meals are eaten in the car.  I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, that's freakin' scary.  There's just something wrong with that.

So eating meals at home saves money, is more nutritious and allows us to just settle down--even for a short time.  There are even more important reasons, however, for families to eat meals together.

Check out these statistics (from a few years ago):
  • 75% of teens say that they talk to their parents about what's going on in their lives at the dinner table.  79% of parents say that's where they find out what's going on in their kids' lives.
  • Of those kids who eat less than 5 family dinners a week, 60% say they wish they did more often (Not what you'd expect, huh?).
  • Teens who eat 5-7 family meals per week are almost 3 times more likely to say they have an excellent relationship with their parents when compared to those who eat less than 3 family meals per week.
  • Compared to teens who eat 5-7 family meals a week, those who eat less than 3 per week are nearly 2 times as likely to get mostly C's or lower in school; 2 times as likely to have used tobacco; nearly 2 times as likely to use alcohol; and 1.5 times more likely to smoke pot.
Clearly, the social aspects of eating as a family are major.  Meals have always been central to who we are and who we become. 

Sit down.  Enjoy your food and each other.  Build relationships.  When Dinner's Done can do that for a family, I feel great.  And so do they. 

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