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Dinnertime is family time

first_imgTips for easy family meals• Keep meals simple. The meal doesn’t have to take hours to cook in order to reap benefits. Try adding fresh ingredients to a pre-made sauce.• Cook on weekends and double the recipe. Freeze leftovers so you have an easy meal on another night.• Take-out. Try a roasted chicken from the grocery store and add a vegetable and whole grain such as rice.• Take time. Sit down and enjoy the meal with your family. Make it a pleasant experience, rather than a time for discipline or discussing problems, so that kids want a second helping of family dinnertime. Don’t turn on the TV during that time. Eating while watching TV can cause overeating and deprives the family of valuable conversation.SOURCE: mealsmatter.org and Vancouver pediatrician Dr. Phillip McGuinessInstructors at Vancouver’s Children’s Home Society of Washington often convene classes around a dinner table to teach parenting skills to clients referred by state Child Protective Services.“It’s part and parcel of what we are trying to focus on in most of our programs: building that positive relationship between parent and child,” said regional director Bridget McLeman. “It’s one of the strategies to try to reinforce the bond and reassure the child that come what may, there are caring adults in their lives.”The habit of family dinner, deceiving in its simplicity yet important to children’s development, may be having a comeback. Recent Census Bureau survey results released earlier this month show more parents ate meals with their children on a daily basis in 2009 compared to 10 years ago. Whether the uptick is a sign of the economic downturn or a growing awareness about the benefits of family dinner is unknown. But research has found that family dinners and the family engagement that occurs during them helps to enhance children’s grades, discipline and nutrition, and discourage drug and alcohol use among teenagers.last_img

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