Family Meal Times – and the £5 Challenge

*This is a collaborative post

Do you have dinner together as a family? A recent study by ScS showed that one in five families eat together just once a week. Now, when Dave was working shifts up until recently we would eat together as a family probably twice a week. The other days I would eat with the children – it’s rare that Dave and I would eat separately from the children if we’re at home.

However, I know how busy life is and with long working hours and long commutes as well as busy social lives for the children it doesn’t surprise me that, across the country, we often find it hard to have dinner together.

Over two thirds of families don’t eat together every night and 13% said that they only actually eat together for big occasions and celebrations. But, in response to this research ScS are now challenging families around the UK to bring back family dinner times and eat together every night for a week – aiming to then keep it going indefinitely after that.

I know that not every family will be able to eat together every single night, but eating together at least a few times a week allows you to talk, catch up and make plans too. But, eating together doesn’t have to be expensive either.

ScS challenged me to have a three course meal with my family for just £5. We don’t often have three courses at home and we don’t have dessert every night so this made the challenge quite fun as it would add variety to our meal times too.

Whenever we are looking to have a cheap, tasty and relatively quick and stress-free dinner we go for a pasta bake which we always have with wholewheat pasta and cheese sprinkled on the top. We then have garlic bread as a side but for this challenge we went for garlic bread with cheese as a starter instead.

I then bought a trifle for dessert which is one of our favourite puddings and something the whole family enjoys. This is a meal that you could easily create yourself from scratch at home but, to save both time and money – which is often the case with busy family life – I went for the easier option of a jar of pasta bake sauce and a ready made trifle.

We had such a lovely dinner together. Pasta is something I know the children will always eat and having a proper dessert is such a treat too. It was lovely to catch up, talk about work, school and our plans for the next few weeks and really just have a good chunk of time together without the distractions of work, technology or housework.

Dinner time in our house is such an important time and, now that Dave is working more sociable hours, I hope we can keep having dinner together, as a family, for as long as possible. But, if you find it hard to have dinner together, why not take up the ScS challenge and try to have dinner together each night for a week – and then let me know how you did!

For info, here’s a breakdown of costs for the meal:

  • Trifle = £1.50
  • Wholewheat Fusilli, 95p, we used 40% of the pack = £0.40
  • Garlic and Cheese Slices = £1.50
  • Cheese, £2.40, we used 25% of the pack = £0.60
  • Pasta Bake Sauce = £1.00
  • Total = £5.00

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4 Comments

  1. December 1, 2017 / 12:13 pm

    Yey, pasta! That is always my first choice for cheap, tasty meals too. And it’s quick which is always a bonus. So sad that people don’t manage to eat together as a family, it’s a really important time for us.
    Nat.x

  2. December 1, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    Well done for achieving that Donna and just goes to show you can feed your family for a fiver. Though might be more expensive when you have a hungry teen in the house. We do have tea together most nights as with having older kids it’s a chance to chat to them without a phone/tablet/PS4 in sight x

  3. December 4, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    We’d struggle with this, mainly because the OH won’t eat a meal without meat in. And good British meat. So even pasta bake would nee d bacon in which would be about half the fiver! We’re a bit odd in the way we have mealtimes. N eats at after school club 3 nights a week, I eat my main meal at lunchtime, and the OH eats his evening meal at 5pm at the farm. N eats at the farm 1 evening, then from Friday evenings we all eat dinner and lunches together. As you say, if we’re in the house together, we eat together.

  4. December 7, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    This really surprises me as we eat as a family every night. There is probably 1 night a month when Andy is away. It’s my favourite time of the day, where we all talk about our day. Pasta bake is a firm favourite in our house too x

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