Is your dinner ritual—or lack thereof—getting stale? Take this quiz to determine your mealtime style and get customized tips for bringing more fun and excitement to the table.
- 1. On average, how many dinners do you prepare at home per week?
- 10+ (everyone wants something different)
- 2. The most used item in your kitchen during the dinner rush is...
- The binder of takeout menus
- The stove
- The microwave
- 3. It's Wednesday night. Name a typical side dish.
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with ham and garlic
- Apple slices
- 4. You're stopping at the supermarket to pick up something for tonight's dinner. What's in your cart?
- Pre-made subs and a container of pasta salad
- Chicken breasts, crusty bread, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes
- Rotisserie chicken and instant rice (for the adults); frozen chicken nuggets and mac & cheese (for the kids)
- 5. Which of the following words best describes family dinner in your home?
- 6. Your mealtime decisions are most driven by...
- Hectic, on-the-go schedules
- Your passions
- Persnickety palates
If you answered mostly a's, your Family Dinner Personality is... Made to Order
Your dinner routine relies heavily on pre-made and takeout items, which—while easy and convenient—can be tough on the wallet (not to mention the waistline). And because you tend to view preparing meals as yet another thing on your long to-do list, dinnertime is often a scattered affair, more about everyone fueling up and moving on than the opportunity to bond as a family.
Make family dinner more memorable starting with the food you eat. Instead of feeling pressured to prepare an elaborate, three-course meal, keep it simple and satisfying with a "Create Your Own Salad Bar" or "Panini Night," combining the ease and flexibility of takeout with the practicality and thoughtfulness of a home-cooked meal. Make it more of a moment by discussing your creations—do you like putting strawberries in your salad? What kind of fruit toppings would you like to see here next time? Which do you prefer—subs on soft bread or crunchy, melty paninis? Have fun noticing how the different DIY dishes match the individual personalities in your group.
Need more inspiration? Pick up the ingredients for these recipes the next time you're at the grocery store.
If you answered mostly b's, your Family Dinner Personality is... Same Time, Same Place
Having a regular sit-down, traditional family dinner is a priority, and you try and make the most of the special time together—from preparing customary dishes to engaging everyone in worthwhile conversation. And while the consistency is mostly a source of comfort, even you'll admit that occasionally, it feels a bit monotonous.
If you're looking to add some extra excitement, consider incorporating a weekly "Theme Night" into the routine. The next time you sit down to dinner, go around the table and brainstorm a playful list of ideas, such as "Mangia Italiano" or "Fondue Frenzy." Mark your different theme nights on the calendar and invite everyone to contribute a fitting recipe, music playlist, or conversation starter. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Feel free to kick off the fun with the one of the themes suggested above. These recipes will get you started.
If you answered mostly c's, your Family Dinner Personality is... To Each His Own
You've heard the expression "too many cooks?" For you, mealtime is the opposite: there's only one cook, and way too many fussy eaters. As a result, family dinner can be stressful and even a little isolating. With you rushing from one dish on the stovetop to another in the microwave to yet another in the oven, it seems like dining happens in shifts—and by the time you sit down to enjoy your meal, everyone else is nearly done.
To make the dinner experience easier and more rewarding for the whole family, try and make one, easy meal that can be tweaked to everyone's different tastes, like homemade pizzas with assorted toppings or pasta that can be customized with veggies and pine nuts for the adults, and left plain with butter and cheese for the kids. Make mealtimes feel more like a moment by combining with fun activities like movie night or game night, or buy a deck of dinnertime conversation starters to get a good dialogue going.
Try adapting one of these easily modifiable recipes for your next family meal "event."