The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “holidays”

The Hunt is Over!

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This Week’s Recipe

The eggs have been boiled, colored on, dyed and the egg hunt is over.  Now there is one thing left, lots of hard-boiled eggs!  If your eggs were not left sitting out for a long time it is time to eat them. You can make hash, potato salad, egg salad sandwiches or add them on top of a salad.

Eggs are not only delicious and fun, but they are healthy for you too! Eggs contain one of the highest quality proteins of any food, which helps you to say fuller longer and stay energized. Eggs have over 13 different nutrients in them that aide in brain function and eye health.

In my family, with two little ones at home, we dyed one dozen eggs. After the official family hunt, and a few unofficial hunts with the kids hiding them for each other, my son asked when I would make egg salad. His favorite! With a dozen eggs to eat I looked at other recipes to enjoy as well. I have included a tasty one for you to enjoy with your leftover hard-boiled eggs.

BethanyClapper_2012

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

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Finding a Quick and Easy Dinner for Two

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This Week’s Recipe

I was talking to my parents last night on the phone, both of whom are retired and live in Florida, and they were talking about what to have for dinner. Ever since I was a child my mom has not enjoyed cooking and did not look forward to making dinner each night. But every night when my dad would get home from work there was a hot home cooked meal prepared by her on the table to enjoy. Last night was pretty typical as they were trying to decide what they were going to have for dinner and they didn’t want chicken breasts again. Since they are living in a 55 and older community often they are busy with church, volunteer work, social events and activities, but last night they were staying in.

We may know a home cooked meal is a healthier option than eating out, but that doesn’t mean we all enjoy cooking. Sometimes it seems like it is hard to think of a meal that I haven’t cooked over and over (like my mom and chicken breasts!). The internet can be a life saver for finding quick and easy recipes. Put a shout out to Facebook friends for their favorite recipes or hop on Pinterest. I told my mom about some new recipes I had pinned on Pinterest and that she should check them out and try them with my dad. One of them was a shrimp stir fry that was really tasty and easy to make for just two people. I look forward to hearing if they enjoyed it and I hope you give it a try too. Let us know if you enjoyed the recipe!

BethanyClapper_2012

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

National Drug Fact Week

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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.

Who Put the “Cran” in Cranberry?

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This Week’s Recipe

When I was growing up no holiday dinner was complete until the cranberries were on the table. In fact dinner was sometimes announced with the sound of the jiggling mass of jellied cranberry sauce whooshing out of the can and flopping onto a plate. But, as I have learned, it turns out cranberries do not grow as a gelatinous goo with ridges on the side which look strikingly like the inside of a can. I have also learned over the years, you don’t have to have a holiday meal to enjoy cranberries.

First, a quick history of one of the few fruits native to North America. When Europeans arrived on this continent the Native Americans of the north east had been using this berry for many things from dying clothes to treating illnesses. It was noticed by early European settlers the flower of this bog growing shrub looked like a crane, and thus the term “crane berry” was born, which was eventually shortened to cranberry. The cranberry first went to sea when sailors discovered it was great for helping to fight scurvy, because of its high vitamin C. On land cranberries were often made in to a sauce, paired with turkey, another native to North America, and served on special occasions (sound familiar?), by early Americans, Canadians and Europeans.

For many families the holiday table is where cranberries were relegated to, and that is where they stayed. But slowly as times change, and look for new and exciting flavors to bring to our families, the cranberry is leaving the formal table and joining us in more casual settings. Cakes, cookies, relish, and salads are all places this tart little wonder-berry is popping up. Maybe it is because more and more people are discovering how the great taste of cranberries is matched with how good it is for you, being full of vitamin C.

So remember, enjoying cranberries at the family table does not mean the once or twice a year sound of the jiggling mass of jellied cranberry sauce whooshing out of the can and flopping onto a plate. Cranberries are a great fruit for everyday, not just the holidays.

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

What if I told you that dinner could save a life?

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This Week’s Recipe

What if I told you that something as simple as a family dinner has the potential to save a life? It sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Or perhaps it sounds like an exaggeration. However, I’m not so much talking about what’s on the table as I am referring to who’s at the table.

According to a September 2012 report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia), teens who took part in regular family dinners were significantly less likely to take part in destructive behaviors such as drug and alcohol use. Additionally, the report revealed that teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven a week) are more likely to say they have an excellent relationship with their parents when compared to teens who ate dinner with their parents fewer than three times a week.

This wasn’t the first time that CASAColumbia found such results. In fact, the 2012 report was the eighth in a series of annual “Importance of Family Dinners” studies that all came to very similar conclusions. Year after year, the results have shown that regular family dinners can reduce everything from teen substance abuse to teen stress levels.

So it’s true: something as basic as eating a meal together five to seven days a week can have a very powerful effect. However, in this digital era, family meals are becoming increasingly uncommon. How many of us eat dinner as families anymore? And if we do, are we truly eating together, conversing, and interacting with each other? Are we genuinely listening to one another? Or is the TV on? Are we on our phones, checking social media, email, or even work-related updates?

It’s often been said that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and nowhere is that proverb more applicable than in this situation. In this instance, the ounce of prevention is taking the time to get together to eat, putting down the phone, turning off the TV, openly speaking, and actively listening. In the short term, the ounce of prevention may seem inconvenient or even mildly uncomfortable for some people. However, the proverbial “pound of cure” that can be required when a teen gets caught up in the world of substance abuse can be far worse than a mere inconvenience or mild discomfort. Yet too many families wait for a crisis to arise to change their family dynamic, communication, and habits.

However, for some families, a family dinner is impossible. Sometimes schedules don’t permit everyone getting together around dinner time. That’s when it becomes necessary to set aside a different time to get together, whether it’s for a meal or other activity that allows for good communication. What’s most important is that the setting allows everyone involved to focus on one another in a distraction-free environment.

At most, regular family dinners have been shown to have the ability to help prevent very destructive youth behaviors. At the very least, they provide families with the time and setting to communicate and get to know one another better. Considering how much hangs in the balance, why not set aside some time today to get together as a family?

For more tips on healthy communication, read our “Talking to Kids” electronic pamphlet:
http://50.62.253.121/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Talking-to-Kids-ver3.pdf

CASA Columbia 2012 press release (“The Importance of Family Dinners VIII”):http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/PressReleases.aspx?articleid=697&zoneid=95

Shane Watson
Communications Coordinator
notMYkid.org

“notMYkid is an Arizona-based nonprofit that seeks to inspire positive life choices by educating students, parents, and school faculty on six topics: substance abuse, bullying, Internet safety, depression, unhealthy relationships, and body image.”

Four Tips for Working Parents to Get Dinner on the Table

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This Week’s Recipe

A new study found home cooking is a major ingredient in a healthy diet.  People who cook at home more often eat fewer calories and their meals have fewer carbohydrates and fat than those who eat out more frequently.  This makes sense – it’s nearly impossible to make a meal at home that is as unhealthy as most restaurant meals!  However, the study found one of the main barriers to home cooking was working more than 35 hours a week outside of the home.

I fall into that category of working full-time and I agree – it makes getting dinner on the table every night more difficult.  Over the years I have found a few tips to make it easier to feed my family healthy home cooked meals after a long day at work:

  1. Keep it simple – a healthy dinner doesn’t need to be a major production. Sauté some chicken breasts in olive oil and serve with a side of veggies.  Dinner is on the table in 20 minutes and it is healthy and delicious.  I may melt some cheese on the chicken breasts or season them differently to mix things up.
  2. Dust off your crock pot – there are a million easy crock pot recipes and nothing is better than walking in the door to a dinner that is ready to go. I have the really big crock pot so I double the recipe and I will serve the crockpot meal at least twice during the week.  I assemble the meal the night before, put it in the fridge and then it’s in the crockpot and cooking before I leave for work.
  3. Take advantage of the weekends to do your prep work so you can get right to cooking and don’t waste time cutting veggies or mixing sauces after work. I don’t plan for more than 30 minutes from the time I walk in the door until dinner is on the table and having the prep work done in advance not only saves time, but it keeps my kitchen cleaner during the week.
  4. Make double or triple portions and freeze the leftovers for future dinners. I tend to make huge dinners on the weekends and the leftovers become healthy freezer meals.  I will pull a meal out to thaw before I leave for work and then pop it into the oven for 20 or 30 minutes to warm for dinner.

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Holli Seabury
CEO and Mother of Seven

Sweet Potatoes… No Sugar Needed!

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Recipe of the Week

I have always thought of sweet potatoes as not being very healthy and that the texture was too mushy and gooey. Probably because I think of them as having marshmallows on top and that does not excite me. As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, for as long as I can remember, each year I give sweet potatoes a try and each year I am not a big fan. Everyone else around the dinner tables likes the sweet potato casserole, so I continue to make it and let the rest of the family enjoy.

A few weeks ago a friend was telling me how she is being more conscious of what she feeds her family. She shared a recipe for a sweet potato casserole that did not include putting marshmallows on top. As we sat down to dinner with our families she put some sweet potatoes on my plate. Once again I gave them a try, and to my surprise they were delicious! I know our tastes in foods change, but I was so surprised that I liked these and that I was looking forward to trying them again soon. An added bonus was that my husband and both my children liked them too!

After that evening I decided to learn a little bit more about this vegetable. A four ounce serving of sweet potatoes provides:

  • 390% of our daily value of vitamin A
  • 40% of vitamin C
  • 18% of fiber
  • 13% of potassium

plus vitamin E, iron, magnesium and much more.

I went onto Pinterest and looked for some recipes to try at home and I shared them on the McMillen Center Pinterest page, too. Enjoy trying something new with your family!

BethanyClapper_2012

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

Grilling as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

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Recipe of the Week

Labor Day is right around the corner and is the second largest grilling day in America. I will be joining that group and will be getting the grill out for what might be one of the last big grilling days before the start of fall.

In my home I like to use a charcoal grill. I find charcoal to be very easy to use and the flavor it adds to meats and vegetables is one of the advantages over propane gas grilling. To set up your grill using my method: add charcoal to the grill (stacked in the shape of a pyramid), add lighter fluid, wait approximately five minutes, add some additional lighter fluid, then light the charcoal. After most of the charcoal has turned white, spread the coals evenly across the bottom of the grill, and place your grill rack on. You are now ready to grill!

My family loves to grill vegetable like yellow potatoes, asparagus, scallions, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. One of the easiest ways I have found to cook those vegetables is to take a sheet of aluminum foil, add your vegetables and butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, then seal the foil closed and place on the grill. In 10 to 15 minutes your veggies will be soft and tender and ready to eat.

Our favorite meat to grill is Korean BBQ chicken – which is easy to make too! Take five pounds of chicken strips and place into a bowl. Add half a jar of Korean BBQ Sauce (my family’s favorite is CJ Korean BBQ Bulgogi marinade), place a lid on the bowl and shake the chicken around until it is evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight. Grilling time the next day is 8-15 minutes.

Another benefit to grilling is the extra time spent with my family. My family likes to come out and help me grill or just hang out outside. On nice days we will enjoy our meal together in the backyard.

Have a great Labor Day and enjoy the long weekend with your family!

Damian Roach Technology & Facility Manager and father of one

Damian Roach
Technology & Facility Manager and Father of One

Tip of the Week: Stuck Inside

Recipe of the Week

Our crock pot has been on-call every day this week with all this cold weather! Also on-call, my patience – If you are like my girls and I, the last few days have made us all a little stir-crazy! The holiday buzz is over, tv time has been done, and even the cats are ready for us to get back into the swing of things (chiefly by letting them sleep without the constant kid-interruptions!) As we spend yet another day in our house with the below-zero temps, the following ideas helped us to find ways to be together without getting on one another’s last nerve!

Indoor sumo wrestling – My kids had not tried this before! Recommended for kids ages 5 and up, this activity will have even your tween laughing, and falling all over herself as she tries to refigure her center of gravity! Giggles galore!

Make up your own games using pieces from other board games. Consider using a checkerboard, the tokens from Monopoly and a dice. Once the kids agree on rules for their version of the game, have them share the idea with their siblings. Find suggestions on Pinterest – here’s a board someone else already made, which will save you time!

Plan a fashion show! – Ok, I confess that having daughters makes this idea a lot more fun! But it also helped to get my girls more organized (and they didn’t even know it!) By having them plan to put on two or three interesting outfits, this helped us to plan the rest of the week’s wardrobe without the drama that accompanies getting ready for school. Choosing music, and then showing off for each other created a lot of laughs! To top it off, take pictures  and share them with friends and family. Need some ideas? There are several videos on YouTube.

How have you kept your kids busy as the winter break has been extended? Share your ideas on our Facebook page and help us all stay sane in the heart of an arctic winter!

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