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October is eat better, eat together month

By Staff | Oct 24, 2014

October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month and when families eat together, meals are likely to be more nutritious. Kids who eat regularly with their families are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods and are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Beyond health and nutrition, family meals provide a valuable opportunity for children and parents to reconnect. When adults, children and teenagers eat together, children do better in school, have fewer behavioral problems and communication improves. When is the last time you sat down and ate a meal with your family? If you cannot remember, October is a great time to start having a meal with your family as often as you can. Check out the following tips to make family meals happen at your house.

Tips on how to have more family meals:

Schedule family meals – To plan more family meals, look over the calendar and choose a time when everyone can be there. Figure out which obstacles are getting in the way of family meals and see if there are ways to work around them.

Even if it is only once a week, making it a habit to have family meals once a week is a great start and you can work your way up to 2 to 3 times a week.

Don’t forget that breakfast and lunch are meals as well; there are no rules that say family meals should only happen in the evening.

Prepare meals ahead of time – It is important to make a shopping list and make time to go to the grocery store so you have foods on hand to create meals.

Try doing some prep work for meals on the weekend to get ready for the week ahead. On a night when you have extra time, cook double and put one meal in the freezer so there is a backup plan for busy nights. Remember that a meal at home does not have to be complicated or take a long time.

Involve kids at family meals – Family meals can be fun and it is important to involve kids in them. Younger kids can put plates on the table, pour beverages or fold napkins. Older kids can get ingredients, wash produce, mix and stir. You could even have your teens be the cook for a night and you could be their helper in the kitchen.

During mealtime, make your time at the table pleasant and enjoy being together as a family. Remember to keep your interactions positive at the table. Ask your kids about their days and tell them about yours. Give everyone a chance to talk.

By: Lisa Franzen-Castle, RD, PhD, Nutrition Specialist UNL Panhandle Research & Ext. Center


2 large eggs (or 3 medium)

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin, or 2 cups cooked pumpkin

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

2/3 c. brown or white sugar

tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

tsp. ginger

tsp. nutmeg

c. all-purpose flour

1 c. water

Mix all ingredients, except water, in a large bowl. Gradually stir in water until well mixed. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie plate or an 8 x 8 square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean. Refrigerate leftovers.

Serves: 8 per serving. 150 calories, 1.5g fat, 30g carbohydrate

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, Food Wise

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