Eat at Home Habit #6 – 21 Dinner Conversation Starters & FREE Printable!

We’re nearing the end of our series on 7 Habits for Eating at Home.  Today’s habit is most important. ?You may be asking why this one is so much more important than all the time-saving tips we’ve been sharing. That’s because dinner may be about the food, but family dinner is very much about the conversation and connections made with each other around the dinner table at mealtime.

Habit #6 – Intentional Dinner Conversation

Eat at Home’s mission is to encourage families to cook and eat at home together so they can leverage dinnertime to build a strong family.

Building a strong family is what making family dinner a priority is all about.  When we spend time together around the table, it strengthens our relationships to each other as we share food and good conversation.  It’s a chance to slow down a minute, look each other in the eye, talk together and really listen to each other. And it’s a great time to check in with our spouse and kids and see how things are really going for them.

A lot of the conversation around the table happens naturally, but sometimes it’s really nice to have a jumping off point to get the conversations started. Having some predetermined conversation starters can be a great way to talk about things that don’t normally come up in conversation but that help us get to know our families better. Sometimes it’s a great way to share favorite memories, learn new things, and share a lot of laughs.

We created a list of 21 fun conversation starters you can use at dinner tonight. Don’t forget to download the free, printable version of the list too!

Dinner  Conversation Starters

  1. Tell about one of your favorite teachers.
  2. If you could be real-life friends with a fictional character, who would you chose?
  3. Which do you think is more important – music or visual art?
  4. Would you ever want to be famous? Why or why not?
  5. What’s one subject they don’t teach in school that you wish they would.
  6. Name a place in your hometown that you’d like to visit, but never have. Make plans to go!
  7. If you had out-of-town guests coming to visit, what would you take them to see in your town?
  8. If you could instantly be good at one thing, what would it be?
  9. What’s your most important possession?
  10. What is your favorite part of the day?
  11. How much time do you think people should spend on the internet each day? How much time do you spend online each day?
  12. What’s your favorite thing to do online?
  13. Do you think it’s good to be bored sometimes?
  14. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re bored?
  15. If it was possible to book a flight into outer space, would you go?
  16. What’s one daring thing you’d like to try? It doesn’t have to be something that’s daring for everyone, just daring for you.
  17. What’s one of your favorite smells?
  18. If you could bump into a famous person during the day tomorrow, who would you choose?
  19. Would you ever consider living in a historic time period (if time travel were possible)? Which one and why?
  20. Do you think it’s better to binge watch a tv show or have to wait on new episodes to be released?
  21. Do you like starting things more or finishing them?

Download the FREE printable version of this dinnertime conversation list here. 

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If you’d rather have something that’s already made up, TableTopics makes tons of fun options to get conversations going. They have everything from conversation starters for couples to conversation starters for family reunions or girls night out! This one is especially for family dinners though, and looks like lots of fun! I love how they are all contained in sturdy little boxes too.

Healthy Habits for Eating at Home

If you are just joining us and would like to catch up on the other topics we’ve covered including topics planning meals around your calendar, quick and simple grocery shopping tips, stocking your freezer, the 15-minute meal and a collection of tools and tips for mastering time-saving cooking methods.

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Eat at Home Habit #2 Quick and Simple Grocery Shopping Tips

We’ve been talking about 7 Habits of Eating at Home in  a brand new series for the last couple of weeks. Our goal is to make the habit of eating at home low stress and high success–without spending hours of time in the kitchen preparing or cooking food.  You can read the first habit about picking recipes that fit your schedule here. This week we’ll be focusing on some quick and simple grocery shopping tips.

I went on Facebook Live and talked about all of my favorite tips and tricks, and demoed one of our favorite 15-minute meals! If you didn’t catch that, you can view the replay here. 

Habit #2 – Keep grocery shopping quick and simple

Grocery shopping can be time-consuming and tedious sometimes. Without a plan, it’s easy to come home with much more than you intended (and go over budget) or forget essentials and hvae to make extra trips. Here are a few ideas to make grocery shopping faster:

1. Organize your list by aisle of the store

If you’re an Eat at Home Meal Plan member, this step is done for you and it’s color-coded too so you know which ingredients are for which recipe.  If you’re not a member, go through the recipes you’ve chosen to make during the week and add all the ingredients to the list in the categories you’d find them in the store.

My lists (and those we create for members) have these categories:

  • Produce
  • Canned/Dry
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Bread
  • Other

2. Keep a running list of things you run out of during the week

I’ve learned that the best place for me to keep this list is in my planner, but you may like keeping a piece of paper on the fridge instead.  You might also have a chalkboard or dry-erase board in the kitchen you could use.  However, you keep the list, get in the habit of adding items to it as you run low on them.

3. Shop with purpose

Once you hit the store, shop with purpose.  This means have your list in your hand, grab your cart and go.  Focus on the list and don’t get sidetracked by other items and aisles.  Move quickly through the store and check those items off your list!

4. Work from the back of the store to the front

I like to start at the back of the grocery and work my way to the front.  That makes a quick trip to the cash register when I’m finished (and less temptation to pick up one more thing) and it keeps the produce from getting crushed since it’s the last thing I add to the cart.

5. Try online ordering with store pickup

Many grocery stores now offer this, including Walmart.  I can’t sing the praises of this service enough!  It’s such a time saver. I put my Eat at Home grocery list in one tab and have the Walmart site open in another tab. Moving between the two to add the items to my cart only takes a few minutes to complete the order.

Schedule a pickup for when you’re already out doing errands.  It’s so convenient and easy! If you haven’t tried it before, you can get $10 off by signing up here.

6. Check out Amazon Pantry

The prices aren’t always comparable to in-store prices in every area, but sometimes you can snag a great deal on pantry staples and have them shipped right to your door! I haven’t tried it myself, but I have a friend who uses it regularly and it saves her time and money! You can order other household staples and fit up to 45 lbs in a box. Each month, there are featured items and if you buy five of those, you get free shipping too. She uses this to stock up on toiletry items, band-aids, and cleaning supplies as well as pantry basics. They have a nice variety of organic and gluten-free options as well. Keeping an eye out and buying things you need anyway can make Prime Pantry a great time-saving choice!

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Healthy Whole Grain Waffles – Freezer Friendly

Back-to-school time is upon us once again. The hustle and bustle of getting the kids out the door, looking presentable, with everything signed and packed, and a nutritious breakfast in their bellies is no easy task. Even if your kids don’t have to leave the house, or if you don’t have kids at all…breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Your body needs it to jump start the metabolism and get needed fuel to those brain cells. With that being said, it’s sometimes so much easier to grab a bowl of cereal, or a granola bar as we are running out the door. That’s where these freezer friendly waffles come in!

freezer waffles EAH

A healthy breakfast is just a few minutes away when you have a freezer stocked with homemade, whole grain waffles, that only need to be popped in the toaster. In just minutes you have a hot, filling breakfast.  The kids will enjoy deciding what toppings to put on their waffles, while moms will love knowing they are getting whole grains, along with energy from natural sugars.  Some topping ideas may be bananas and peanut butter, blueberries and walnuts (my favorite), chocolate chips (my kids’ favorite)…the possibilities are endless! You can even fold them and carry them with you for breakfast on the go. If your kids do like them plain, you could always add in some extra cinnamon, pumpkin or apple pie spice, or whatever they like. I like to think of waffles, pancakes, and muffins as a sort of “blank canvas” that you can design however you want!

healthy whole grain waffles, freezer friendly

Healthy Whole Grain Waffles – Freezer Friendly
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (cow's milk, almond milk, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons oil*
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey (could also use maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • *I like to use a combination of olive oil and canola oil, or coconut oil.
Instructions
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together.
  2. Pour onto a greased waffle iron.
  3. Cook until steam is no longer coming from waffle iron.
  4. Eat immediately or cool and freeze.
  5. This made about 6 six-inch round waffles.
  6. To prepare from frozen: These can be microwaved, but for best texture I recommend cutting them in half (or fourths) and placing in the toaster until warm and crisp.

This recipe does not contain eggs, and could easily be made vegan.

 

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No Bake Cookies – ‘Healthified’

 

Recently, I had an intense craving for the classic no bake cookies. Chocolate, peanut butter, oats….yum! However, I wanted to see if I could give the recipe a little makeover, to make it a tiny bit healthier. I was able to reduce the sugar, sub out the butter for healthier fats and still have the delicious flavor I remember. I love when my ‘experiments’ work out! Of course, don’t get me wrong, this is still a treat and not a health food, but with all those oats and protein from the peanut butter…I just might have justified eating them for breakfast.  Okay, I totally ate them for breakfast!

No Bake Cookies – ‘Healthified’
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar*
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 4 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup peanut butter*
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • *Notes – I used ½ cup sugar and ½ cup Stevia in the Raw – just depends on your preference. Any nut butter, or peanut butter replacement, such as WowButter or SunButter could be used in the place of peanut butter. A combination of quick cooking and old fashioned oats, or all quick cooking can be used if you prefer.
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, coconut oil, and cocoa.
  2. Bring to a boil, and cook for about a minute.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.
  5. Place in fridge to cool and set.
  6. {store in refrigerator since coconut oil melts above 76 degrees F}

KimM is a contributing writer for Eat at Home. For more recipes, check out her blog Makin’ it Mo’Betta, and follow along on PinterestFacebook and Twitter!