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Reap the Benefits of Family Meals

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how I continue to provide my family with healthy meals during the summer months when the heat and humidity can make me want to avoid the kitchen.  I received a few comments in response, which were all similar–how important it is to make time for family meals.  These comments got me thinking about my own family and how our time spent at dinner is key to both our healthy lifestyle and our connection with each other.

While it might be easier to order take-out or have something delivered, I think we’d all agree it’s not the more nutritious option.  Preparing a meal allows you to control fat and sodium content as well as add more fruits and vegetables to the recipe.  An added benefit is the cost savings of making something yourself in comparison with purchasing something ready-made.

If you make dinnertime a family affair with everyone helping to prepare it, you’ll also find your kids are more likely to eat those healthier options.  Plus, it’s a great way to start healthy habits.  Show your children how to prepare fruits and vegetables or how to use better cooking options (baking, steaming, etc.).

Family meal time is also a great way for everyone in the family to touch base.  My kids have told me that many of their friends never eat dinner with their families and I think that’s sad.  In our house we use this time to find out how our day has gone, if there’s anything new happening or just to reconnect.  I understand how busy life can get and there are certainly evenings where sports practices or work travel keeps us from eating together, but I do make an effort to have family dinner on a regular basis.  Honestly, as the kids get older it’s the one time during the day when we’re all in one place at one time.

So, I suggest we all take the advice from my readers’ comments and try to incorporate some family meal time into our schedules.  I’m including a link to our recipe database to provide you with some healthy meal ideas you can try.  Enjoy!

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  1. Be fair: the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which puts out the “Dirty Dozen” list, also puts out a “Clean Fifteen” list, which lets me know what fruits and vegetables have low- or no-pesticide residue, even though conventionally farmed. It frees me from scrimping to buy only a few (expensive) organic fruits and veg. I can (and do) buy more of the clean fifteen! (The EWG also says if you can’t get organic, eat conventionally grown, even from the “dirty dozen,” because eating enough fruits and veg is SO important.)

  2. I have a few articles that talk about some other ways family meals are beneficial.

    http://smartparentprogram.blogspot.com/2011/09/family-meals-help-children-like-healthy.html

    http://smartparentprogram.blogspot.com/2011/10/family-meals-help-children-like-healthy.html

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