Live well and eat well: meet around the table for family meals

Over the past few months, we’ve found that our families are eating together at home more often, which has led to new meal routines. Whether you are sharing breakfast with the family sitting on your kitchen island or have cleared the dining room table to gather around her each evening, focus on maintaining those new routines, especially since many families are starting the slow but steady transition. during pre-summer school, work and activity schedules.

September is National Family Meal Month ™ and now is a great time to remember why family meals are so important to begin with. According to information from Food Industry Association (IMF), routine family meals at home can help increase feelings of well-being and self-esteem, foster stronger family relationships, reduce risky behaviors like smoking and drinking, improve academic performance and to increase the consumption of nutritious foods.

When deciding what to cook for meals, don’t be afraid to keep it simple. Reheat frozen ravioli with your favorite sauce then serve with fresh or canned vegetables and a glass of milk for a balanced meal. Or try one of these options to mix up your menu:

Noodles and chicken with Thai peanut sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pan and brown the garlic, peppers and carrots. In a bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of honey, ¼ cup of creamy peanut butter and 1 tsp of chili or sriracha sauce. Once the vegetables are cooked, add grated chicken, cooked linguini or rice noodles and peanut sauce to the pan. Garnish with chopped peanuts and green onions.

Deep dish quiche: Press the prepared pizza dough into a greased cast iron skillet, letting it drape around the sides. Beat a dozen eggs with cheddar cheese, spices and chopped vegetables like green peppers, onions and chives. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until egg is cooked through.

Sautéed vegetables: When making stir-fries, replace the chicken or steak with firm tofu! It will have a similar texture and will be rich in protein. Be sure to add a variety of vegetables to your stir-fry, as well as a side of brown rice or quinoa.

Fish tacos: Fry tilapia, cod or shrimp with a little olive oil. Add paprika, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, lime juice, garlic and onion powder to taste. Once the fish is fully cooked, place it on the warmed tortillas. Add your favorite taco toppings and enjoy.

For additional resources, visit our Family dinners website section at for tips, recipes, articles and even a freebie or two. And don’t forget to Raise your mitt to engage ™ with us by committing to eat one more family meal at home each week.

Author’s Note: Andrea Luttrell is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist for Big Y’s Live Well, Eat Smart program. She was recently named a BusinessWest 40 Under Forty recipient. A nutritional question? Email him at [email protected] or write Living Well at 2145 Roosevelt Ave, Springfield, MA 01102.

About Sara Rodriquez

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