Making family meal time easy

September is Family Meals Month

Most parents have great intentions to put a healthy family meal on the table each evening, but real life and busy schedules can often get in the way. It is important to know that serving a gourmet meal is not necessary to reap the positive benefits a family meal provides. Gathering around the table to enjoy a simple meal can (and does) boost children’s self-esteem, promote healthy eating skills, and help connect as a family.

Aim for 3-4 family meals a week for natural family time.

Try these easy and affordable family meal ideas that use healthy, convenient items from your local supermarket and ask the whole family to get involved in the preparation.

Make the family meal easy

– Cook frozen potato and cheese perogies; top with sautéed peppers and onions (find them pre-sliced in the produce department); serve with milk and fresh apple slices.

– Make a quick batch of chicken chili by sautéing 1 cup of diced onions in a large stock pot until tender. Add a 48-ounce jar of cooked great northern beans, 1 jar of salsa, 2-3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken, 1 tablespoon cumin and 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Heat and serve with blue corn tortilla chips.

– Create a taco bar with cooked lean ground beef or turkey, canned black beans, shredded 2% cheddar cheese, diced onions and tomatoes, avocado slices and salsa.

– Use whole grain naan bread or small prepared pizza crusts to make veggie pizzas. Add sliced bell peppers, red onion, olives, mushrooms and other favorite veggies to see who can make the most colorful creation.

– Mix canned tuna with finely diced onion and celery: add light mayonnaise and garlic powder to taste. Top toasted whole grain bread slices with tuna mixture and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil in the oven until cheese melts. Serve with fresh pears and milk.

– Want dinner ready when you come home? Try this delicious pot roast recipe! Simply add all the ingredients to your slow cooker in the morning. Serve with a prepared green salad later the same day!

When time is tight, a little pre-planning helps assemble delicious dinnertime meals for the whole family. Consider picking up and stocking up on healthy, convenient ingredients, then, have everyone pitch in to make the family meal truly easy!

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