The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “famliy”

Time to Get Out and About!

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This Week’s Recipe

The weather is slowly but surely warming up and as the gray clouds move out, there are so many things to enjoy outside and around town. Find our Out and About Guide online for tips to get your family out and active! The guide will provide your family with information on where to find activities, paths, parks and splash pads in the city along with nutrition tips and so much more. Bring the guide to your family table and have some fun planning your warm weather activities!

Another great way to use the guide is to plan your training route for this year’s Fort 4 Fitness. Did you know the McMillen Center is a charity partner? We have formed TEAM TAM to gather racers and pledges to support the McMillen Center. Follow this link, to sign up for Fort 4 Fitness and Team TAM today! mcmillencenter.org/join_team_tam

Happy spring!

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

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What Grade Does Fast Food Get You?

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This Week’s Recipe

When I was growing up in south central Pennsylvania, the closest fast food restaurants were about 15 miles away. Fast food was something I ate infrequently, maybe a few times a year. Today, nearly every tiny town has some form of fast food and most families eat fast food on a fairly frequent basis. Nearly half of Americans eat fast food anywhere from once a week to several times a week.

However, a new study shows we may want to rethink how often we feed fast food to our children. In looking at the school performance of over 11,000 children, it was found that the amount of fast food children eat may be linked to how well they do in school. The more fast food children ate in fifth grade, the lower their growth in reading, math, and science test scores by the time they reached eighth grade.

It wasn’t just a small difference either – students who ate the most fast food had test score gains that were up to about 20 percent lower than those who didn’t eat any fast food. The lead author of the study said, “There’s a lot of evidence that fast-food consumption is linked to childhood obesity, but the problems don’t end there. Relying too much on fast food could hurt how well children do in the classroom.”

Children who ate fast food four to six times per week or every day had significantly lower gains in reading, math and science compared to children who did not eat any fast food the week before the survey. Although the study didn’t determine why children who ate more fast food didn’t do as well in school, the researchers point out that fast food lacks certain nutrients, like iron, that help children’s brains develop. Diets high in fat and sugar, like fast food, have been shown to hurt memory and learning.

As a mom who does rely on fast food sometimes to get a meal on the table, what do I do with this information? Well, it will certainly cause me to rethink how often I go through the drive-through. If you do need to go through a drive through to get dinner on the table, here are some hints to make the meals not quite as unhealthy:

  • Skip the soda pop. Choose the milk or water option.
  • Drop the fries and either choose a fruit option with a kid’s meal, or if you are serving the fast food at home put some fresh fruit on the table or quickly heat up frozen veggies.
  • Try to choose grilled meat, rather than deep fried.

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury
CEO and Mother of Seven

National Drug Fact Week

drug_fact_week

This Week’s Recipe

January 26-30 is National Drug Fact Week in the US. So why should you care?  Studies show that youth listen when you speak. They may not show great listening skills, or sit down quietly beside you while you talk, but they do listen and they do watch your behavior.

Across the nation, and here in Indiana, abuse of prescription medications by middle school, high school and college age students is increasing.   Prescription medications are the drug-of-choice for 12 and 13 year-olds, abused more commonly than any other drug.  Youth often perceive pain medications such as hydrocodone, fentanyl, or oxycodone to be less dangerous than other narcotic drugs like heroin or opium. Unfortunately, the effect on the brain is the same regardless of whether the narcotic is a prescription with specific instructions to follow, or purchased off the street.

Four in ten teens report that the prescription medication they used came from their parents’ medicine cabinet. Parents can reduce access to prescription medication by monitoring and securing their prescription medications and disposing of any expired or unused medications.

SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) reports that talking to children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse goes a long way. Teens that had learned “a lot” or “a little” from their parents or grandparents about prescription medications were up to 42%   less likely to abuse prescription drugs than teens that reported learning “nothing.”  Family meals can be a perfect time to start that conversation about drug abuse.  Hints for starting the conversation (and making it a conversation and not a lecture!) can be found here.

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

Happy Holidays!

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This Week’s Recipe
Bonus (Cookie) Recipe for this Week
Another Bonus (Cookie) Recipe for this Week

We are so thankful to have you as a supporter of the McMillen Center for Health Education. Whether you are a teacher, principal, not for profit, donor, or friend we appreciate you! Thank you for helping us have another successful year!

We know you are counting the days to a holiday break, and so are we, but if you were planning to make a year-end, tax deductible contribution to the McMillen Center, now is the time.

In the 2013.2014 school year we taught over 41,000 individuals the importance of making healthy choices for their amazing bodies – an increase from the previous year. Whether it is through our Family Table project that teaches the importance of families eating together, our anti-bullying programs, teaching preschoolers how to brush their teeth, or our homeschool programs, each message is important and with your support will continue in the community.

Enjoy the holidays with your family and enjoy a few of our favorite holiday cookie recipes.

The Holiday Table is the Family Table

thanksgiving

This Week’s Recipe

The holiday season is kicking off this week with Thanksgiving, and many families have traditions that were started long ago and have been passed down through the generations. This week, as we sit around the table and remember all the things we have to be thankful for, we can continue to create beautiful memories with our loved ones. Whether it is each individual saying what they are thankful for before dinner, saying a special grace at the table, or spending time together watching football after the big dinner – we can all find something in our life for which to give thanks.

The quality time you are spending together as a family, has so many benefits and will build a tradition for future generations. Family meals bring benefits such as increased happiness in the home for all ages, higher grades in school, a reduced risk of eating disorders for youth, better nutrition, fewer cases of depression, lower risk of tobacco/alcohol/drug use and better communication among family members. These are only a few of the benefits of eating together!

As you sit down with your family tomorrow for Thanksgiving, enjoy every moment with them and remember to give thanks for even the small things in your life. The McMillen Center wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving and we are thankful you follow our Family Table Tip of the Week!

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

Casseroles are quick and easy!

casserole

Recipe of the Week

Casseroles are easy to make and can use up whatever foods you have may have available in your pantry. Use this quick list as you look at your pantry, it may even be a big help as you think of something fast to feed the kids before heading out to trick or treat or other nightly activities.

  1. Look for a grain – preferably whole grain like rice or pasta and cook it. One cup uncooked rice or pasta will give you about 2 cups cooked.
  2. Add 1 to 2 cups of leftover vegetables (or frozen or canned) like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.
  3. Add 1-2 cups of leftover or cooked or canned meat (browned hamburger, cooked chicken/turkey, tuna) or canned /cooked beans (kidney, chili beans, pinto, black), or even tofu.
  4. Mix in 1 -2 cups of cheese (shredded or sliced), maybe even stir in a can of your favorite creamed soup for the salt and added creaminess.

Heat this all together in a pan and you have supper. You can add a salad and some fruit on the side with a glass of milk and you have an incredibly easy, fast way to get supper on the table with all the food groups included. This recipe would be enough food for four nice size servings. If you have more mouths to feed, then increase the quantities. The great thing about casseroles is that if it turns out delicious, then write down the ingredients you used and you have now made your own recipe! If it is not your favorite, eat it and don’t use that combination again. If you have your kids help with cutting up vegetables or adding the other ingredients, you are encouraging them to be confident enough to try their own ideas. You or your kids may be the next great chef!

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

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