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Top Chef's Tom Colicchio wants you to sit down to family dinner

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, BestHealthMag.ca and the National Post.

Connect as a family around food

No time to make dinner and sit down to eat with the family? Celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, among others, is sharing some favorite family recipes in a campaign to bring back the family dinner. It's time to shelve our excuses and make good eating around the table a priority.
Tom Colicchio
America Makes Dinner

Connect as a family with food

No time to make dinner and sit down to eat with the family? Celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, among others, is sharing some favorite family recipes in a campaign to bring back the family dinner. It's time to shelve our excuses and make good eating around the table a priority.

With fast-food intake and obesity on the rise, people need to make some changes. First step: food. A new campaign, America Makes Dinner, wants to get people back in the kitchen making their own meals and sitting down to eat them with the family. The focus is to provide the tools, encouragement and inspiration from chefs, food bloggers and other celebrities to make it happen.

Healthy choices can be easy

Cozi, an online and mobile family calendar, and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), an organization focused on making the healthy choice the easy choice for parents and families, are behind the campaign that has brought Tom Colicchio and others on board to share tips and recipes. Don’t worry if you’re gourmet-challenged. Nothing should be complicated or time-consuming -- these are just simple and nutritious meal ideas.

Connect as a family

"The single most important act anyone can do with their family is to sit down together and enjoy a home-cooked meal," says Laurie David, author of The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time. "If you do, your children will reap the benefits long into their adult years." David will be sharing some of her favorite kid-friendly recipes during the campaign.

Need more incentive? You can enter a family-friendly dinner recipe of your own to win a private cooking lesson with chef-preneur Allison Sosna, former executive chef of DC Central Kitchen, a competitor on Food Network’s Chopped and a passionate advocate of healthy food for children. During the three-hour cooking lesson, Sosna will teach the basics of preparing quick and easy dinners, and leave the family with a full week’s worth of family dinner ideas. The winner will also receive an All-Clad sauté pan, perfect for preparing one-dish meals.

Join in with America Makes Dinner Day

Each week, you're invited to try a featured recipe submission and give your feedback, helping to choose recipe finalists. Once the favorite recipes have been chosen, the America Makes Dinner campaign will culminate with America Makes Dinner Day on Oct. 17, 2012, when families across the country will sit down and enjoy the winning recipes.

More family health tips

How Brooke Burke keeps her family happy and healthy
Heart-healthy family activities
5 Simple rules for preventing childhood weight problems

Photo credit: PNP/WENN.com
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