The entrée recipes in this section will help give you some great dinner ideas. Not only do these recipes help you prepare delicious and nutritious meals such as Achaar Chicken and Bengan Masala, but they will assist in bringing the entire family around the dinner table. Studies have shown that regular family dinners have some surprising benefits. Teenagers who eat with their families at least five times a week are more likely to get better grades in school and are less likely to have alcohol and drug abuse problems. Research among younger children has shown that family meals filled with conversation allow infants and toddlers to develop early reading skills and vocabulary. Eating together also helps improve social skills and table manners among younger children.
When families eat home cooked meals together, they tend to eat more nutritiously balanced meals and include more vegetables and fruits in their meals. Additionally, kids are more likely to try new foods if they are involved in preparing them and if they see the adults enjoying them. Home cooked meals are also easier on the wallet and can result in considerable savings over time.
Unfortunately, for many families, that evening meal together can be a scheduling nightmare. Afterschool activities, late workdays and long commutes all make it difficult to find the time for family meals. However, family meals don’t have to last long, and surely do not need to involve elaborate menus. The most important point is that families can count on regularly having this special time together where each family member feels comfortable sharing the ups and downs of his or her day. This is a way to ensure that parents stay involved in their children’s lives. Family meals are great occasions to pass down family traditions, not just in the foods that are enjoyed, but also in the stories that are shared from one generation to the next. So, turn off the TV and don’t answer the phone—meal time is time for listening to each other, sharing the day’s stories and nurturing the body with a healthy meal.