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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Think about it, when was the last time your family sat down to a meal together. I’m
not referring to the big family meals we have at holidays, I am referring to all the
members who currently live in your household, sitting down at the table to enjoy an
everyday meal together. Chances are it has been too long. In our hurried lives, we
seem to have lost one of the most basic joys, that of family gathering around the
dinner table to discuss the day’s events.
Family meals are more than just food, they are a time for families to connect and
share their lives. Conversation and laughter around the table builds relationships,
family unity, and helps children become stronger, smarter, and healthier. Family meals
have been associated with better grades, less risk-taking behaviors, more polite children,
positive emotional well-being, and healthier diets.
It is important to make family meals a priority. Plan ahead and involve family members
in both what you will have and in preparation of the meal; whether it is setting the
table, or helping prepare the meal. Make it a point to sit down and eat together.
Meals can be more organized and, therefore, more nutritious. Be flexible, there is
no rule that says dinner has to be served at 6:30. If your family has a busy night,
have nutritious snacks on hand to hold them over until meal time. Then when all family
members can gather at the same time, enjoy one another’s company, and eat healthy
and delicious food.
Turn off the television, cell phones, computers, and iPads, to reduce competition
with outside sources and promote meaningful conversations. Talk with one another,
listen, and laugh. Mealtime is a time to bond and grow closer to family members.
Family meals can support nutrient-rich meals by encouraging family members to try
new foods, increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables being consumed, supporting
habits for a healthy body weight, and developing positive lifelong eating habits.
Start this week by having everyone gather for a tasty meal at least once and continue
to plan for family meals. Soon they may become a family tradition.
For more information on serving your family healthy meals at mealtime, contact the
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in Miller County at 400 Laurel Suite
215 in Texarkana, call 870-779-3609, fax 870-773-3471, email me at email@example.com. Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ MillerCountyFCS or Twitter #CarlaMHaley or http://uaex.uada.edu/counties/miller/
If you think you are not a fan of brussel sprouts, try this recipe. It transforms
the little cabbages into a tasty side dish with a different texture.
Not Your Ordinary Brussel Sprouts
1 pound Brussel sprouts, stem ends trimmed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup chicken stock
Wash hands with warm, soapy water. Finely chop brussels sprouts. Put brussels sprouts
in a bowl and toss with lemon juice. This helps the sprouts keep their bright color.
Chill several hours until you are ready to cook them or use immediately. Heat oil
in pan over medium heat. Cook the brussel sprouts for 2 minutes. Add the salt, garlic,
zest, and poppy seeds. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and
cook for another minute. Serves 6.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.