UACES Facebook Cook Together, Eat Together, Talk Together, Make Mealtime Family Time

Cook Together, Eat Together, Talk Together, Make Mealtime Family Time

Family meals are more than just food, they are a time for families to connect and share their lives. Conversation and laughter around the table builds relationships, family unity, and helps children become stronger, smarter, and healthier. Family meals have been associated with better grades, less risk-taking behaviors, more polite children, positive emotional well-being, and healthier diets.

TEXARKANA, Ark. –

Think about it, when was the last time your family sat down to a meal together. I’m not referring to the big family meals we have at holidays, I am referring to all the members who currently live in your household, sitting down at the table to enjoy an everyday meal together. Chances are it has been too long. In our hurried lives, we seem to have lost one of the most basic joys, that of family gathering around the dinner table to discuss the day’s events.

Family meals are more than just food, they are a time for families to connect and share their lives. Conversation and laughter around the table builds relationships, family unity, and helps children become stronger, smarter, and healthier. Family meals have been associated with better grades, less risk-taking behaviors, more polite children, positive emotional well-being, and healthier diets.

It is important to make family meals a priority. Plan ahead and involve family members in both what you will have and in preparation of the meal; whether it is setting the table, or helping prepare the meal. Make it a point to sit down and eat together. Meals can be more organized and, therefore, more nutritious. Be flexible, there is no rule that says dinner has to be served at 6:30. If your family has a busy night, have nutritious snacks on hand to hold them over until meal time. Then when all family members can gather at the same time, enjoy one another’s company, and eat healthy and delicious food.

Turn off the television, cell phones, computers, and iPads, to reduce competition with outside sources and promote meaningful conversations. Talk with one another, listen, and laugh. Mealtime is a time to bond and grow closer to family members.

Family meals can support nutrient-rich meals by encouraging family members to try new foods, increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables being consumed, supporting habits for a healthy body weight, and developing positive lifelong eating habits.

Start this week by having everyone gather for a tasty meal at least once  and continue to plan for family meals. Soon they may become a family tradition.

For more information on serving your family healthy meals at mealtime, contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in Miller County at 400 Laurel Suite 215 in Texarkana, call 870-779-3609, fax 870-773-3471, email me at chadley@uaex.edu. Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ MillerCountyFCS or Twitter #CarlaMHaley or http://uaex.edu/counties/miller/

If you think you are not a fan of brussel sprouts, try this recipe. It transforms the little cabbages into a tasty side dish with a different texture.

Not Your Ordinary Brussel Sprouts

1 pound Brussel sprouts, stem ends trimmed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/4 cup chicken stock

 

Directions:

Wash hands with warm, soapy water. Finely chop brussels sprouts. Put brussels sprouts in a bowl and toss with lemon juice. This helps the sprouts keep their bright color. Chill several hours until you are ready to cook them or use immediately. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Cook the brussel sprouts for 2 minutes. Add the salt, garlic, zest, and poppy seeds. Cook an additional 2 minutes.  Pour in the chicken stock and cook for another minute. Serves 6.

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609
chadley@uaex.edu

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