When there’s a chill in the air and the crunch of autumn leaves are underfoot, we seem to be drawn to our homes where we want to create a warm and comforting setting. Finding foods and recipes that will draw those most special to you around your table is one of the best parts of this season. Autumn vegan family meals that feature the highlights of what our harvest has to offer are the pinnacle of this cozy time of year.
Eating better, eating together
This season, we are focusing on “eating better, eating together” by providing helpful information, insights, and tips. Because when we enjoy delicious wholesome foods with others, we are sharing an experience of not only great food, but also connecting with the people that make our lives meaningful. This initiative focuses on the importance of this connection and how to create ways to bring your family and even friends together to eat meals together.
Food isn’t just about sustenance, it’s also about the opportunities it affords us to connect with what truly means the most to us. Yet, the family dinner is increasingly become an icon of a bygone era. A recent study by Harvard University found that only about 30% of all families eat together on a regular basis.
While busy schedules have family members often heading in different directions, the COVID-19 pandemic meant many of our schedules changed, giving us a chance to slow down and once again return to the family dinner table.
As the world slowly starts to recover from the pandemic, we find many of our old busy routines returning. However, it’s important to remember that eating together, on even a limited basis, as a family or with a group of friends can result in healthier and happier lives.
Here are just some of the many reasons why we should all gather for meals:
- We eat better when we eat together. A British Columbia Health Link article cites something that many of us know – when we gather for a meal we eat better foods, like more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and less processed sugary foods.
- Kids and teens who eat regular meals with their families maintain a healthier weight and are more likely to explore new foods.
- Eating together is a stress reliever. A study by Brigham Young University found that parents who shared dinner with their families used the time to recharge after a long day and experienced an overall lower level of workplace stress.
How to make more meals a family affair
- Schedule it. Whatever day you pick, get the whole family on board to commit. If weeknights are a struggle, consider a weekend night, lunch, or brunch, too.
- Get everyone involved in the meal planning process. Your family will be more invested in the meal if they have a say in what’s being served. If you have varying tastes or diets, work to find something everyone can enjoy.
- Solicit everyone’s help. Even the little ones can be involved in mealtime. Have them make placemats with crayons and paper or do simple meal prep tasks like tearing up lettuce for a salad. Older children can learn the basics of prepping and carefully chopping vegetables, too.
- Explore a new dish. Share the experience of experimenting with a brand new recipe together.
Autumn vegan family meal planning
Fall is the perfect time to introduce a meal plan designed to bring the family together. The bounty of the season’s harvest means there are so many delicious foods at their peak, and it’s fun to experiment with new ways to prepare them. Here are a few categories of fall favorites.
Nothing says comfort food like a big bowl of soup. Soups can often be made ahead of time, too, making them the perfect weeknight meal. Or simmer a soup on the stove while everyone is home and note how the family comes together to ask “what smells so good?”
If your crew can’t pass up cauliflower, this Must-Try Cauliflower Soup is just for you. Consider serving a variety of topping options so each person can customize their dish. Everyone will be pleased when you offer crispy bacon alternative, gluten-free croutons, and fried capers to the bar.
If you are looking for a hearty, quick prep soup, here’s just the one. While this Chickpea Soup with Mozza Crisps simmers, catch up on the day’s events with the family, help the kids with homework or play a quick card game.
Rich and hearty
You don’t have to eat meat to enjoy its most popular companion – potatoes. This Creamy Crave-Worthy Scalloped Potatoes will have your family asking for seconds. If you do serve meat for some of the family, this is an excellent dish to offer for all to enjoy.
If you can’t pass up a farmer’s market, be sure to put this dish on your autumn vegan family meal plan. This Ratatouille Bake with P’Jack-Melts features some of the best fall vegetables, and the slow bake time means you can have more time to catch up with your family, sip on a glass of wine, or nibble on a charcuterie board until it’s ready.
Gameday fare for all
If your version of family mealtime is centered around cheering on your favorite team, here are some great dishes that will please your crowd and have them cheering for more.
Pretzels with Ched Dip are quick to whip up, which is great because you should be prepared for them to disappear quickly. Consider pairing these with other one-bite wonders, like Red and White Pizza Toastini or Marinated Antipasti Bruschetta, for a small plate extravaganza your whole team will devour.
What’s fall without pumpkin? This fondue is the epitome of ‘lets spend time together’ food. Whether you’re watching a game or playing a heated board game, this Party-Perfect Pumpkin Fondue will entice everyone to gather for a little friendly competition.
With some planning this fall, you can be enjoying more cozy family time and great meals together. We’d love to hear how you and yours are savoring the season and see some pics of your crew enjoying a Vevafied fall!
Our “eating better, eating together’ Series will return with more tips and advice on how to cook with children and how to spend more quality time with your family while exploring the whole Vevan lineup!