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Rescuing Family Mealtime

If you are making resolutions to eat healthier, it's a good idea to make small steps, at first. And one small step that can help your entire family is cooking and eating dinner at home.

One person who loves to cook is Liz Edmunds. In fact, she loves it so much, she put her recipes and menu planning system into a book titled "The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner." She is also the host of a new reality show that helps bring families back to the dinner table.

“People are coming back to dinner time to save money,” says Liz. “And that's one of the great things about my plan - you get organized for two weeks and you go shopping once.

Tonight is Mexican night at Liz’s house and she's making chicken fajitas. Her goal is to show everyone how easy and fast it is to cook a meal at home, so she's setting the timer for 30 minutes.

First comes the prep work - slicing the chicken breasts, chopping all the vegetables, warming the tortillas, and finally, putting it all together in the pan.

“The hardest part about dinner is trying to figure out what to cook. Once we know what we are going to make, dinner can be a snap.

Liz says it is important for parents to teach their children the fundamentals of cooking and nutrition - something you can't do if you're just opening up a box or a can.

Studies show that children who eat meals at home with their family eat more fruits and vegetables, fewer snack foods, and have higher grades and fewer behavior problems in school. Liz says eating at home is also about creating a feeling of food security.

 

Liz Edmunds,
"The Food Nanny
"

food nanny photo

“We want those smells coming from the kitchen as we're preparing food. It’s something that kids just don't see anymore; they don't see parents, older siblings even, in the kitchen cooking, and that's something that kids love to see because number one, they feel safe, and they also know that food is plentiful in the house when they see dinner being put on the table and mom or dad in the kitchen cooking.

Research shows that parents often choose to eat out because they feel they don't have the time to cook a proper meal. Liz says a little planning can help even the busiest parents get through those trying days without stopping for fast food on the way home. But she also says it’s OK to take a break when you need one.

“I say cook five nights a week; if that's just so overwhelming for you, then just start with one or two, but when you get going, try to cook five and take 2 days off,” says Liz. “But it's all about making a plan, putting it on the refrigerator or someplace in the kitchen so that you know what the plan is in the morning before you leave for work, you know what it is that night you are going to be cooking.” 

The experts agree, and say that family meals are an opportunity to exchange ideas, and talk about feelings. But it is important to turn off distractions like the television, and mobile phones, and use mealtime as a time to strengthen family ties and pass on family cultural traditions.

Check yout our family-style healthy recipes. You can find more information on The Food Nanny here.

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