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Sunday Night Dinner, In the Dining Room

I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat Better, Eat Together Balancing Act blog carnival hosted by MealsMatter and Dairy Council of California to share ways families everywhere can make time for family meals that include foods from all the food groups.

A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the Balancing Act blog carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found at MealsMatter.

Sunday Night Dinner is a Family Tradition

Family traditions around food and eating are memorable experiences for children.  From our family blessing to the Christmas morning egg and sausage casserole, we have several traditions that involve food and the mealtime experience.

One of the favorite traditions in our home is Sunday night dinner, in the dining room. We started this weekend tradition years ago when our youngest was still in a highchair.

And even though seasonal changes sometimes interrupt the regularity of the occasion, we often find ourselves re-prioritizing Sunday night dinner when the fall season begins.

Maybe it’s the crazy weekend schedule or the menu of roasted meat and vegetables that draw us back, but Sunday night dinner is a tradition of togetherness, wholesome food and getting the week started on the right foot.

Food for Sunday Night Dinner

Last Sunday, we grilled steak, potatoes and asparagus (with hollandaise–a real treat!)…and of course I served milk…er, and some red wine for Father of the Year and I.

This week I am planning to make homemade applesauce, a roasted chicken, a big green salad and maybe some homemade rolls. Sometimes I do a pork shoulder roast in the oven.

I try to serve a well-rounded meal with something from every food group, and sometimes I serve dessert too.

Practice Table Manners at Sunday Night Dinner

I think Oprah would be proud too—we take advantage of the dining room experience and use special tableware, candles, family-style service and practice the manners that go along with fine dining.

Many families don’t have a traditional dining room—but that’s not the point. Any location that is different from your normal meal location can set a new tradition in motion and ignite your child’s interest in eating good food, together.

Just make sure you’re not parking it in front of the TV.

When was the last time you ate in your dining room?

Don’t stop here! Other bloggers share their stories and tips on how they juggle the balancing act of getting a well-balanced meal on the table!

10 Commandments for Guilt-Free Feeding – Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD
Beating the Lunch Box Blues – Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Dinner Time – Michelle Rowe, RN and Health Educator
Eat Better, Eat Together– Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Family Dinners Fuel Healthier Kids – Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN
Families that Cook Together Eat Together – Kia Robertson
Making Time for Family Meals: How I’ve Earned My “RDH” – Trina Robertson, MS, RD
Meal Planning: Taking the Stress Out of the ‘What’s for Dinner’– Laura Everage
Pressed for Time? Moms Know Best: Tips for Getting Food on the Table – FAST! – Samantha Lewandowski, MS, RD, LDN
Roasted Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal – Cheri Liefeld
Sunday Night Family Dinner, In the Dining Room – Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
The Balancing Act – Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
The Power of Family Meal Time & How to Squeeze It In! – Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
The Truth About Family Dinner – Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Toughen up: Give Two Choices for Dinner – Take it or Leave it! – Glenda Gourley

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  1. Great blog Jill! Every Sunday night, my 84 year old mom joins us for dinner. Many times, she brings one of her signature dishes to the table. I hope to continue the tradition for a long time to come.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. So many of my favorite childhood memories were made at the family dinner table! Thanks for sharing your tips, Jill! I love that even though I’ve moved across the country from my family, I still enjoy meals every week with my husband’s family. Nothing says “home” to me like a family meal.

    To start or strengthen your commitment to family meals, take the Eat Better, Eat Together pledge on Facebook today!

  3. I think it’s great your family does this. In my family we did Friday night Shabbat dinner every single week. I loved knowing it was the end of the week and there was no homework to attend to after dinner, so we could all just relax and sit around the table. It definitely created great memories for me!

  4. Our special night is Friday 🙂 We call it Friday Family Fun night, we play games and always make a tasty meal together!

    I agree that it’s comforting to have family traditions and when we get too busy we can always take the time to course correct and get back into the routine.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks–your term course correct is so powerful! As I say, You can always get off the horse, and you can always get back on!

  5. What a great idea Jill! When I was young we always had “Sunday supper” and it took place in the late afternoon around 4 or 5pm. Being raised in CA, this was one way my mother kept her Southern roots in tact. Our favorite comfort foods were always served, but thankfully we covered all of the food groups in the process (chicken and dumplings, green beans, biscuits, a glass of milk and apple crisp for dessert). Reading this post reminded me of those fond childhood memories…I think I will restart the “Sunday supper” tradition with my family too!

    1. For me, Sunday night dinner has a little more formality and flair–so I put a more attention and effort into it. I wouldn’t serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which I sometimes do during the work week)!