Planning a Family Meal (When You’re Used to Going to Restaurants)

It’s the horror of horrors.

You’re in lockdown and you can only leave the house to buy essentials. That means you can’t go to your favourite restaurants and indulge in a ready-made feast of food and Italian wine.

You have to make your own food.


With all of your family around you…

Never mind coronavirus. The prospect of doing that is more than enough to have some people pulling their hair out. But never fear because your Xtrawine team is here.

We’re going to share a few tips for planning the dreaded family meal if you don’t tend to do it all that often.

Tip #1 – Order Some Italian Wine

Let’s get our priorities straight here. The Italian wine you order will be essential to the dinner. Of course, you want to find a wine that complements the food that you’re going to prepare and yada yada yada…

But let’s be honest.

You’re going to need a glass of wine or two to help you deal with the chaos of the meal too!

Thankfully, you don’t have to head out to grab a bottle. Just pick your favourite from our huge selection and we’ll have it delivered to your door in no time at all.

Tip #2 – Start Small

You don’t have to start out by creating some lavish five-course meal with specific wine selections for each dish. If you’re not used to preparing family meals, it’s always best to start small. 

Write up a list of dishes that you feel confident in preparing and have them be your go-to choices for the meals.

Eventually, you’ll build some confidence up and may even want to start experimenting. You can make that part of the meal experience too. Let your family know that you’re going to try something new and get them all involved, if you can.

Of course, it also helps to have a back-up in place, just in case something goes wrong with your experiment.

Tip #3 – Set a Time

You’ve slaved over the stove.

You’ve spent hours preparing ingredients and getting the meal just right.

Now…do you really want to spend an eternity trying to coral everybody to the dinner table? Your partner’s snoring on the sofa. Your kids are playing videogames or have their eyes glued to their phone. It can feel like just as much if a hassle to get them to the table as it was to prepare the meal for them.

That’s why it’s a good idea to set a time for the meal and make sure that every member of the family knows it.

Make them get ready for you, rather than making you chase them around once the meals cooked. 

And as a little addendum here, take away phones before anybody sits at the table. You want your family paying attention to each other and the food, rather than a bright screen.

Tip #4 – Prepare Beforehand

Getting out to do some grocery shopping can feel like a full-on military mission right now. You’ve got to follow orders and get as much out of each trip as you possibly can.

If you miss an item, you’re probably not going to get your hands on it until next week. At the very least, it’s not a case of taking a quick trip to the shops anymore!

That’s why it’s a good idea to create a meal plan for the week.

Figure out what you want to make and what you’ll need to make it. Write down all of the ingredients on a list and take it with you when you go shopping. It’s the best way to guarantee that you don’t come up short of a vital ingredient for your family meal.

Tip #5 – Involve the Rest of the Family

“Moooom, I don’t like it.”

That is exactly what you don’t want to hear at the dinner table. After you’ve spent so long creating a meal, it can feel like a slap in the face to have the kids reject it.

Now, you could just tell them to eat what they’re given. They’re not going to get anything else. But if you do that, you run the risk of creating resentment. And with everybody cooped in the house all day long, that’s a powder keg that you don’t want to explode right now.

Instead, why not involve the rest of the family in your meal planning.

Perhaps you could give each member a day of the week where they select the meal, within reason of course. You’re not going to serve up ice cream for dinner. But by involving everybody, you ensure that you don’t end up serving foods that people just don’t like.

Tip #6 – Always Take Time to Prep

5pm rolls around and you tell yourself that it’s about time you started making dinner…

But you didn’t account for all of the prep work involved. By the time you have all of the ingredients ready, an hour or two has passed. And once you add cooking time on top of that, you won’t be serving the food until well in the evening.

You don’t want the kids (or your partner) dozing off into their food, do you?

To avoid the issue, make sure you know exactly how much time you need to prep for the meal. Start early and you’ll never have late-night mishaps when it comes to family dinner.

The Final Word

We’ll leave you with a word of encouragement…

You don’t need restaurants. You’re capable of creating culinary masterpieces for your family. And armed with these tips, your family dinners will be an absolute joy.

And if they’re not, you can always just drink a couple of glasses of wine and remind yourself that this is only temporary. The restaurants will be back soon.


We can’t help you anymore than we have with the family meal. But we can definitely make sure you’re well-stocked with Italian wine, no matter the occasion. Check out our catalogue today to find something to fall in love with.



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