NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Family Mealtime Challenge

Family Mealtime Challenge

          For some time now, the University of Illinois Extension Service has sponsored a fun and nutritious program that encourages families to eat together. Entitled “Take the Family Mealtime Challenge”, families set a goal of eating at least 5 meals together each week.  Research has shown some very real benefits to eating family meals at home.

          10 Good Reasons to Eat Together

-              Kids do better in school

-              Teens are less apt to use alcohol or drugs

-              Kids have fewer behavior problems.

-              Family communication improves

-              Kids like having time to talk to the adults in their lives.

-              Kids understand their family’s values.

-              Traditions are created around meals.

-              Meals are more healthful.

-              Food dollars are better spent.

-              Time is better used because the family only cooks one meal.


Suggestions from the University of Illinois for successful meals include:

-         Turn off distractions like TV’s, DVD’s, cell phones, etc.

-         Take only emergency phone calls.

-         Get kids involved in planning and preparing the meal.

-         Avoid stressful topics during the meal –such as money or school problems.

-         Focus on positive topics


Broiled Pineapple and Ham Sandwiches


4 slices of whole wheat bread

4 thin slices of ham

4 pineapple slices, drained

4 slices of reduced fat American cheese


 Place a slice of ham on each slice of bread.  Place pineapple slice on ham.

 Top with cheese.  Place on baking sheet and broil until cheese melts.     Serve immediately.

      Calories 210 ~ fat 8 g ~ calories from fat 70,  sodium 710 mg ,


Microwave Chicken and Broccoli


     1 pound frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

     1 cup finely chopped onions

      1 clove fresh garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cubed cooked white chicken meat without skin

1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts

1/2 cup fat free sour cream

2 Tablespoons fat free milk

1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 teaspoon paprika


Place the broccoli in a microwave safe baking dish with the onions, garlic, and pepper, spreading out the ingredients to cover the surface of the dish.  Cover tightly and microwave on high until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Arrange the chicken and water chestnuts evenly on top of the broccoli.  Cover with wax paper and microwave on high for 3 minutes.  In a small mixing bowl, stir the sour cream and milk together; pour evenly over the contents of the baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheeses and paprika.  Cover with the wax paper again and microwave on medium-high (70%) until the cheeses are melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Calories 330 ~ fat 8 g,  calories from fat 75, sodium 745 mg ~ total carbohydrate 28 g .


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