Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month!

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Did you know October is National Eat Better, Eat Together month? Yep, it sure is! So what does that mean for you? Believe or not, family mealtime is making a comeback. Even though schedules seem to be heavily loaded, families across our nation are making time to eat dinner together whenever possible.

Why would we eat better if we are together? Of course, this statement is under the presumption that mealtime is taking place at home. While there are healthy take out or restaurant choices available, it is easier to make nutritious meals in the comfort of your own home.

Studies have shown that families that eat at home decrease their caloric intake substantially, and their food choices are much healthier than if they eat out. This special sit down time is also a great way to connect and check in with your family members. Ask them about their day, find out what they are concerned about, and talk about the family schedule so everyone is on the same page.

How can you make mealtime happen in your home? 
An old adage says, "if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right". This can be applied to family mealtimes. Taking the time to plan ahead is critical, and can be taxing at times. but so worth it! However, if you involve your family members in the meal planning process, the complaints come mealtime will decrease because they had a say in the choices made. You may be surprised to find that you have at least 30 meals in your family cookbook - this means you can promise your children no meal will be repeated during the month. That is easier than it sounds, and gets great results.

Is it my turn again?
We also encourage giving each member of your family one night of the week where they are in charge of preparing the meal either alone, or with adult supervision as needed. Not only are you teaching great skills to prepare your children to live on their own, the valuable interaction time between parent and child can become a special tradition. It is amazing how complaining seems to subside when your child figures out how much effort goes into meal preparation. You might even get an increased amount of thank yous for your own efforts!

Step out of your comfort zone.
Choose one meal a week where you try a new recipe. It is easy to get stuck in the same menu choices, but if as a family you contribute one new recipe a week to your menu plan, your menu selection will multiply. Trying new recipes also gives children the chance to expand their pallet. What they didn't like last year, may become a favorite this year. You never know until you try!

We hope you enjoy "eat better, eat together" this month. Let us know what successes you have and what ideas you come up with as a family to implement. With the holidays around the corner, making healthy choices at mealtimes can help you and your loved ones make better choices throughout the holidays.

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