Tips to Have More Family Meals

There are many benefits to having a family meal or snack. This time helps improve family connection, fruit and vegetable intake, and kid’s self-esteem. It can be hard to create the time for family meals or snacks. Here are some tips to make this easier:
  • Set a goal. Plan to start having a family meal time once to twice a week. You can build from there.
  • Keep it simple. Family meals don’t have to be elaborate. Work salads and vegetables into meals. Focus on familiar favorites, like chili or frittatas. 
  • Be prepared. Have ingredients for one to two quick meals that can be made in less than 30 minutes. You can always fall back on these fan favorites. 
  • Keep healthy ‘appetizers’ on hand. Stock the kitchen with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt, and cheese. These are great snacks to have after work or school. 
  • Get the family involved. Let kids help prepare meals and set the table. Have the kids help clean so they know all that goes into making a meal.  
  • Use the crock pot. Put everything together before leaving for work in the morning. You’ll come home to the delicious smell of a cooked meal. 
  • Pick up take-out, order pizza, or eat out. It still counts as quality time spent together. 
  • Make it enjoyable. Leave the serious discussions for another time. Family meals are for nourishment, comfort, and support.
  • Set the mood. Play soothing music. Put flowers on the table. Light a candle. Create a relaxing environment. 
Slow Cooker Summer Chowder
Servings: 8
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups corn fresh off the cob
2 cups russet potato peeled and cubed
2 large carrots peeled and diced
1 sweet onion diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup plain greek yogurt
4 small zucchini halved and sliced
3 tomatoes diced
1/2 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
1. Add vegetable broth, corn, potato, carrot, onion, salt, thyme, and smoked paprika to crock pot.
2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Once cooked, stir in greek yogurt.
4. Blend soup with immersion blend in crock pot, or transfer to blender to blend.
5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
6. Add zucchini and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes.
7. Add zucchini to blended soup.
8. Serve 1 1/2 cup of soup topped with tomato and basil. Enjoy!
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Nutrition Information per Serving: 237 calories, 3.21 grams total fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 47.5 grams carbohydrate, 5.1 grams fiber, 6.9 grams protein, 664 milligrams sodium, 573 milligrams potassium, 7 grams sugar
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