(BPT) - With the school year in full swing, it can be challenging for families to find time away from their busy schedules and spend quality time together. One easy way to make sure there is quality time to connect between classes, sports and work is by prioritizing family meals at home.
Studies have shown time and time again the lifelong benefits of family meals, including higher self-esteem in kids, better grades and even an increased consumption of healthier foods such as fruits and veggies. Family meals also give everyone an opportunity to share about their day and plans for the week and become closer to those who matter most.
Check out the below tips from Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dalina Soto on how to maximize mealtime with your family:
1. Ease into it
Start by taking baby steps. If you set a goal to start eating one or two more meals together a week, even if it’s just for 30 minutes, you will be more inclined to stick to it, and incorporate even more mealtime from there.
2. Get the family involved in meal prep
Make mealtime fun by getting the whole family to plan what recipe to make, go grocery shopping together and gather in the kitchen to prepare the food. Kids will not only enjoy being involved in the process, but it will also help to increase the frequency of eating meals together and foster healthier eating habits.
3. Don’t limit family time to dinner
While families tend to gather more often for dinnertime, it doesn’t mean parents and kids can’t join for breakfast, lunch or even a snack. Start the morning off right with a nutritious meal using Eggland’s Best eggs, which have six times more Vitamin D and 10 times more Vitamin B-12 compared to ordinary eggs to support kids' cognitive wellness and motor function and keep them energized throughout the school day.
4. Switch up your meals
If you’re tired of the same boring lunches or snacks, get the family excited by testing out new dishes every week. Get creative with your meals and switch them up by having breakfast for dinner. Or try whipping up a snack board dinner like this Lightyear Grazing Board from Eggland’s Best. Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, available now on Digital and on Blu-Ray™, this recipe is delicious and nutritious, and can be enjoyed during a family movie night!
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Serves 6
2 cups unsalted popcorn, popped in oil
1 cup assorted berries, such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries
6 hard-boiled Eggland’s Best eggs, halved
1 English cucumber
1 bell pepper, red or yellow
4 slices low-fat sharp cheddar
1/2 melon, such as cantaloupe and honeydew
2 apples, cored and sliced
20 whole-wheat crackers
Special Tools Needed
Large wooden board or tray for serving
Star cookie cutter, various small sizes
Moon-shaped cookie cutters, 1-2 inch sized
3 small ramekins or serving bowls
1. On large serving platter, place two small serving bowls. Add popcorn in one, berries in another, and whole wheat crackers in remaining bowl.
2. Place hard-boiled Eggland’s Best eggs around bowls as desired.
3. Slice cucumber into rounds. Using moon cookie cutter, cut about 10 slices into moon shapes, and place on board with rounds. Alternatively, you can create moon shapes by slicing cucumber in half lengthwise, deseeding. Then slice down width of cucumber to create moon shape.
4. Deseed bell pepper and cut into four pieces. Using star-shaped cookie cutter, cut into star shapes. Repeat with cheese slices.
5. Cube melon, leaving 1 thin slice to cut shapes. Cut additional melon stars and place all on board as desired.
6. Core and slice two apples and arrange around snacks.