We have all been there at one point in our lives, it is five o’clock in the evening and we just finished a full day. Whether it was a full day of school, work, running errands or supporting the family, dinner is quickly approaching and everyone is hungry. The options become cereal, ramen noodles or takeout. In an ideal world, the family gathers the dinner table, and catches up on their day. But so often the reality of crazy schedules, sports practices, and electronics edge out meaningful conversation. We talked with Brooke Griffin, author of Skinny Suppers and founder of Skinny Mom, which she created for people to make healthier choices and stress-free meals. We tried out a couple of the recipes from the cookbook with our family including the Chicken Cobb Salad, Mango Slaw and Slow-cooker Asian Drumsticks. All of them were quick, easy and a hit with our guests.
Brooke was a former NFL Cheerleader and Fitness Universe Champion. She had recently had her son, when her marriage and life seemingly fell apart. We talked with her about how God renewed her faith, how she started Skinny Mom and her hope for Skinny Suppers.
Brooke shared with us how she had grown up in a Christian home and wandered from her faith but how God was faithful and brought her back.
“I was in this place of brokenness. I felt like I had failed at everything. I was going through a divorce. I had just had my son. I was a new mom and had gained 70 pounds. I moved back in with my parents and was really suffering from depression and anxiety. I had no idea what my future looked like. I remember crying out to God, “God if you are real I need you!” I am so thankful that His grace and mercy met me at that moment and radically changed my life from that point on. In the days and weeks that followed, I felt like I had hope and He had a future for me. I started making changes and overcame depression and anxiety and in the weeks that followed would start the career path that I am on today.”
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
Brooke reflects on the inspiration for the book and what she hopes it will do for others.
“When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, ‘Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.’ Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” Luke 14:15-17
“I grew up in the south and had the privilege of living next door to my granny. She would cook for my entire family. I can remember squeezing into her country kitchen and having this great meal and we would share memories with each other. We would have conversations and discussions about each other’s lives. I knew that when I was in the process of writing this cookbook from cooking for my son and my family that I wanted us to get together and have reasons to get together over good food so that we could share conversation and make sure that we knew what was going on in each other’s lives and pray for each other. I hope that is what this book does. Yes, you will have good meals, the recipes are delicious but I hope that it encourages families to turn off the TV and all the other electronics and let’s just have conversation and create memories.”
Start simple! Set aside one day a week to have a meal together with family or friends. Let everyone know that you will be cooking or do a potluck and ask people to bring dishes that everyone can share. Pick out a recipe that you will be able to prepare given your schedule, that way you are not stressed out. We enjoyed using Skinny Suppers because many of the recipes were simple for our hectic schedules.
Make a meal together. Whether it is your small group, group of friends or family, give everyone a role in helping prepare the meal. From setting the table, to washing and cutting the vegetables, there are always lots of tasks to help with. While it may seem like more work to delegate out, even preparing the meal together will provide more opportunities for conversation, laughter and bonding.
Make it a point to have conversation. Ask everyone how they are doing, what they are learning in their relationship with Christ or a prayer request. If need be, ask everyone to silence and put away their phones or other things that might distract from having conversation. Pick out a devotional or passage in the Bible and read it together. Discuss what you learned from it. After the dinner, before everyone leaves the table, take time to pray for one another.
Invite someone for dinner. Pray and ask God whom He wants you to reach out to. Use it as an opportunity to get to know them and see what they believe. If possible, share your testimony. Take time and reflect on the parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14:15-24.
Bless someone with a meal. Whether it is a neighbor that is sick, a friend that just recently had a baby or another family going through a tough financial spot, ask God to show you who you can prepare a meal for. It can be as simple as making extra of what you are already making for yourself or your family and just putting the extra portion in a Tupperware.
To read our entire interview with Brooke, pick up our upcoming issue of Risen Magazine. To get Skinny Suppers, visit: skinnymom.com