The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “meals”

Starting an Herb Garden

herb_plant

This Week’s Recipe

We may have just had a spring snow, but we have also had a few days now where spring has shown us that it is (hopefully) right around the corner. I love hearing the birds in the morning and seeing the sunshine! I am so ready for this winter to be over and to be doing activities outside! Do you feel the same?

I want to head out to a local nursery and buy plants and seeds and soil. This year I want to try something new; planting an herb garden. I love watching flowers bloom that we have planted and this year I also want to be able to taste what we are growing in our salads, sauces and soups! I am going to be following these simple guidelines:

  1. Picking your herbs- start with picking out your favorite seeds. Some basics include basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
  2. Location- you want a spot with good soil that will receive ample sun light, yet be shielded from wind.
  3. Care for your herbs- water regularly, place mulch around the base, fertilize monthly and prune as needed
  4. Harvest- and ENJOY!

Growing herbs is a great family activity, too. Kids can help throughout the entire process and they will love seeing what they have helped grow in their dinner.

BethanyClapper_2012

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

What Grade Does Fast Food Get You?

fast_food_grade

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

Tip of the Week: Summer Meals

Shrimp and Arugula Salad

Recipe of the Week

Our house was a bit quieter last week– summer camp is in full force and our kids had gone to a residential camp.  This was most noticeable at two points during the day: in the morning when my husband and I are usually hustling them to finish getting ready for the day and to eat breakfast, and in the evening, when we generally sit down together to eat dinner.  We found ourselves with some additional time on our hands.

I have to confess, I get off lightly in the food preparation responsibility – my husband does almost all of the grocery shopping and cooking for our house! (I’m so spoiled, I know.)  And, our kids are not particularly picky eaters, thank goodness.  But cooking for just two of us is a bit different.  Fortunately, many online recipes allow you to alter how many servings you are cooking.  It is awfully hard to crack just 1.5 eggs!  Even our grocery bill changed.

We ate more salads, partially due to the heat, but also because without those two growing girls gobbling everything in sight, we cooked less.  I noticed that there was less dressing bottles on the table at dinner (not to mention less dressing used!)  We also ate some meals that we wouldn’t usually prepare with the girls at home, like Shrimp and Arugula salad.

There were also fewer dishes to wash because for some reason, each of our daughters pulls a new cup out for every drink of water they consume.  If this is a glimpse of what empty nesters experience when their kids first move out, I was excited early in the week, but I have to confess, I was a little lost by the end of it.  Friday night they returned (with all of their camp laundry, too!)  Yep, we’re back to those extra dirty glasses, but the giggles and silly songs were a welcome sound to the silence of last week’s meal times.  Being away from each other for a week has definitely given us lots to talk about at the dinner table, as the girls share their adventures with us!

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and mother of two

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