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Family enjoying a meal together

Family Mealtime

December 3rd is Family and Consumer Sciences Day.   The theme for the 2019 “Dine In” for Healthy Families is, “Neighbors as Family”. This December, I encourage you to host a “Dine In” meal with your neighbors of choice. This might be neighbors in an apartment, college dorm or friends from across town. Your “neighbors” might be people you see regularly from work, the gym or other community settings. Your meal can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Interested? Look at the meal prep tips and recipes listed below.

Why should you say “YES” to Family Mealtime?

A “family meal” is when the people you live with or consider “neighbors” come together to eat and talk. Why should you add this to your routine?

  • Eating together can be an opportunity to have conversations with family and friends.
  • Regular family meals create a routine that may help children feel more secure.
  • Eating together can provide the opportunity to teach and learn basic food preparation skills.
  • Make it a positive place for conversation – place your devices (phone, tablets, etc.) away from the table. Focus on positive interactions with those at your table. Not sure what to talk about? Iowa State Extension shares Mealtime Conversation Starters to help you get started.

Would you like some ideas to help you get started on the Meal Prep side of things?
Here are a few tips for prep day:

  • On your meal prep day, focus first on foods that take the longest to cook: proteins like chicken and fish; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa; dried beans and legumes; and, roasted vegetables.
  • Also consider preparing staple foods that everyone in the family enjoys and which you can easily add to a weekday meal or grab for a snack: washed greens for a salad, hard-boiled eggs, a bowl of chopped fruit, cooked beans.
  • If you prefer not to precook proteins, consider marinating poultry, fish, or even tofu (in the refrigerator) on your prep day so that you can quickly pop them into the oven or stir-fry later in the week.
  • Multi-task! While foods are baking or bubbling on the stove-top, chop vegetables and fresh fruit, or wash and dry salad greens for later in the week.
  • As you find favorite ‘prep-able’ meals, watch for sales and coupons to stock up on frequently used shelf-stable ingredients like pasta, rice, and other whole grains, lentils, beans (canned or dried), jarred sauces, healthy oils, and spices.
    Need more Inspiration? Check out these easy-to-make recipes. 

Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Six Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

 Skillet Lasagna

 Veggie Crockpot Lasagna

 Southwest Shredded Chicken

 Egg Roll in a Bowl

Remember to enjoy time with family and friends. Enjoy conversations over mealtimes. Have fun making the meal. Remember to relax, talk and enjoy the time spent with your “family” – whether it is your family, friends, co-workers or neighbors.

Sources:

“Dine In” With Us! Family & Consumer Sciences Day. https://www.aafcs.org/fcsday/home

Mealtime Conversation Cards. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/Mealtime-Conversation-Cards

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewers: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County, powers-barker.1@osu.edu

Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

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