Long working hours, after school clubs, and juggling the work and social schedules of different family members has led to a significant change in our mealtime routines, or should we say a total lack of routine! Do any households regularly see the table being 'laid' for tea, for mum, dad and 2.4 children, and a plate of identical food being presented to each?
Apart from the hectic lifestyles making co-ordinating a family dinner something of a military operation, the sheer choice and 'pingability' of fast foods and ready meals means that it's not unusual for every family member to not only eat at different times but to eat completely different things.
We inevitably have to accept that this is a sign of the times, increasingly so as the children get older and more independent. But there is absolutely no doubt that there are health, social and emotional benefits to hanging on to some pattern of family mealtimes. A home cooked meal prepared from scratch is a bit more effort but by far the healthier option over a microwave or frozen ready meal.
Sitting around the table, (television and mobile phones OFF!) just catching up with what's been going on in each others' lives keeps you all in touch and can alert parents to potential problems. Letting everybody have their say is an important part of family life, fostering a sense of security, love and belonging. It’s also an ideal opportunity to teach younger children appropriate table manners and social skills, leading by example rather than just correcting or criticising. And you can also show them that gastronomy extends far beyond burgers and chips, without force feeding them brussel sprouts!
It sounds great in theory, but it's not always that simple in real life. Regular family mealtimes at home are definitely something worth working towards, but there's nothing wrong with starting out letting someone else do the work!
Southend is lucky enough to have a wide range of family friendly restaurants where you can go and relax and share some quality time over the Easter holidays, without having to worry about the washing up afterwards.
The Roslin Beach Hotel in Southend offers fine dining in exquisite surroundings. An impressive a la carte menu, together with a healthy yet very appealing childrens menu (not a Turkey Twizzler in sight) gives the whole family the opportunity to don their Sunday best and dine in style. Relax, dine and enjoy the comfort and views afforded by this beautiful restaurant, then why not follow it up with a brisk walk around Thorpe Bay.
Fancy something a bit spicier? The Saffron Lounge Indian Restaurant and Takeaway boasts not just truly authentic cuisine, but the healthiest curry options in Southend! Their traditional dishes offer a fusion of classic Indian flavours with a contemporary twist, whilst the healthy options menu means you can experience all the flavour without all the calories. Ideal for families or the younger one's dipping their first poppadom into the curry experience, The Saffron Lounge Tapas menu is perfect for sharing and maybe trying something new.
Plus, if that wasn’t enough, Saffron Lounge’s Children’s Menu – normally priced at £5.99, is free on Sundays until April 30th, including Easter weekend! Choose one starter, one main and one accompaniment from:
Under 10’s only – 1 FREE children’s set menu on Sundays when an adult purchases one main course and accompaniment.
Tex-Mex is always a firm favourite with the younger ones, although there is a huge difference between the offerings of the large chains and the home made, freshly cooked fare served up in the vibrant surroundings of Panchos Cantina, Southend's top Mexican restaurant. Focusing on fresh, high quality ingredients Panchos Cantina's extensive menu features the absolute best that Mexican and Texan cuisine has to offer, in a casual, family friendly environment.
Plus at Panchos Cantina, kids eat free with every full price adult meal purchased this Easter! Until April 13th 2012, this offer is valid at both Southend and Rayleigh restaurants throughout the Easter School Holidays.
Whatever the age of your children, however rarely or frequently you are able to sit around the table, our Southend restaurants certainly give you the chance to do just that this Easter, without breaking the bank.