Eating Together With Family
Getting families to sit down and eat together can be a challenge. However, studies show that eating together has many benefits. With these quick and affordable recipes, your family can eat together even if you are short on time and money.
Compiled by Libby's, here are five really good reasons why sharing a meal with your family is good for the stomach and the soul.
1. You could get an A+: Research shows that children who eat dinner with their families five or more times a week are more likely to have higher grades in school – regardless of gender, family structure or economic status.
2. It's easier to say no to drugs: According to the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, frequent family meals have been linked to a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using marijuana. When you spend more time with your kids at the dinner table, it's easier to spot changes in behavior and develop a better relationship with them.
3. Good conversation builds confidence: Researchers at Emory University found that pre-teens whose parents tell family stories at dinner have higher self-esteem and get along better with their peers during their teen.
4. Eating at the table means eating better: A University of Minnesota study found that kids in families who watched TV while eating meals together had a poorer diet than children whose families ate together around a table. Boys who watched TV while eating ate fewer vegetables and grains and drank more soft drinks while girls who watched TV ended up eating fewer dark vegetables and more fried food.
5. It's good for girls: Studies show that teenage girls who ate five or more meals per week with their families were less likely to resort to extreme dieting measures such as self-induced vomiting, diet pills or laxatives. This was true regardless of socioeconomic status, body mass index or family connectedness.
To help get families back to the table, Libby's has partnered with "Total Mom" expert Hannah Keeley to create $10 meals that moms can prepare in 10 minutes or less. Here are a few sample recipes that your family may enjoy.
Kicked-up mac 'n cheese
Directions1. Prepare macaroni and cheese with milk and 1/4 cup butter, following package directions.
2. Gently stir in peas, corn and pimentos. Place in a 3-quart casserole dish.
3. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter, mix with breadcrumbs and sprinkle evenly over casserole.
4. Place under broiler about 2 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Mexican tortilla soup
Directions1. In a large saucepan, heat oil and chili powder over medium heat just until it sizzling.
2. Add corn, tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken and 1 cup water; simmer 5 minutes.
3. While soup is cooking, heat tortillas in toaster oven or over a flame.
4. Cut into strips or tear into small pieces and place in soup bowls; ladle soup over tortillas.
5. If desired, sprinkle with cilantro and serve lime wedges for squeezing into soup.
Tip: For a spicier soup, increase amount of chili powder to taste.
Frittata with peas & carrots
Directions1. Preheat broiler. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
2. Add peas and potatoes; cook, stirring gently, until heated.
3. In a bowl, whisk eggs, herb blend, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes and peas and reduce heat to medium-low.
4. With a rubber spatula, lift up the cooked part of the frittata and tilt the skillet to allow the uncooked eggs to run underneath. Continue cooking, occasionally lifting the frittata and tilting the skillet as described above until the top is almost set, approximately 5 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with the cheese. Broil about 6 inches from the heat source about 1 minute or until the frittata is puffed and the top is set.
Directions1. In a large bowl, combine corn, black beans, tomato and ranch dressing.
2. Line a large bowl or platter with tortilla chips; layer lettuce, vegetable mixture and cheese, in that order, on top of chips.
Colorful chopped salad
Directions1. In large bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Toss gently until well mixed.
Tip: Add chopped leftover ham, turkey or chicken.
All recipes and photos courtesy of Libby's and GetBacktoTheTable.com, where you can find more information about family mealtime and practical recipe ideas.