So what if dinner’s not a four-course spread, served at 6:00 sharp, or even on all seven nights a week? The act of sitting around the dinner table with your kids may be the single most important thing you do as a parent. Studies show that families who eat together have kids who perform better in school. In addition, they are less likely to have behavioral problems. And by following this one evening ritual, you may be protecting them against future eating disorders, substance abuses, obesity and depression.
September is National Family Meals Month, which encourages families to share one more meal together at home each week. This month, Hy-Vee dietitians are highlighting Siete – a Mexican-American food brand that makes delicious heritage-inspired products. Add Siete products to your grocery list and revamp your routine so you can serve satisfying suppers your whole tribe will want to sit around the table and enjoy together.
No Time? No Problem! – Since when did making meals have to be time-consuming? Give yourself a solid 30 minutes and maybe keep your favorite taco seasoning in the pantry – it could just save the day. In addition, a little prep work on the weekends may be just enough to keep all things sane during the week. Cook up chicken breasts, then shred for quesadillas, tacos or a quick soup.
Hangry? Grab a Veggie – This emotion is definitely real. The act of getting irritated because hunger is on the brain and in the belly has been a popular word used by many. But before you give in to a snack before dinner, try to instill the “veggies only” rule. Kids can choose something from the produce drawer or the veggie you plan to serve with dinner. And, when all else fails – pair your veggie with a dip like Core and Rind sharp and tangy cheese sauce!
Revolving Recipes – Tater tot casserole yet again? While you may have only a few tried-and-true recipes up your sleeve, it’s OK. Kids thrive on routine and they love theme nights. Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays or Leftover Thursdays are easy ways to simplify your meal planning – and it takes the guesswork out of the most-asked question of the day, “What’s for dinner?”
- Your Mealtime Mantra – If you need one takeaway, then this is it: The parents are responsible for making and serving dinner. The kids are responsible for whether they eat it and how much. “But what if they starve?” Rest assured, they won’t. Think big picture – what habits do you want to instill in your kids? Catering to every need and serving mac-n-cheese will only teach them that whining gets them their way. Plus, they won’t have any motivation to branch out if they know you’ll always defer to their favorite foods. If they are hungry, they will eat. Trust them to make this decision (and maybe have a fun treat after meals every now and then like Siete grain free Mexican Wedding cookies).
There’s no family dinner without food, yet the best benefits come from what happens after you bring the food to the table. When families have the time to talk and make memories – well, that’s the secret sauce. Together tastes better. Pledge to plate it up with your families more this month.
Siete Veggie Picadillo Tacos
All you need:
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced into ¼” cubes
24 oz baby bella mushrooms, finely minced
1 pkg Siete Spicy or Mild Taco Seasoning
1/3 cup water
1 box Siete Grain Free Taco Shells
Optional toppings: romaine lettuce, tomatoes, hot sauce
All you do:
- Warm up olive oil in a large sauté́ pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Sauté́ onion, bell pepper and potato, until potato cubes have softened.
- Add minced mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring often, until mushrooms have softened.
- Add 1 packet of spicy or mild taco seasoning along with water. Simmer 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
- Serve with pre-crisped taco shells and toppings for garnish – such as romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and/or the hot sauce of your choosing!
Find the original recipe here.
It is never too early to foster healthy habits. Grab the whole family for a kid-friendly virtual nutrition tour focusing on balanced nutrition, the five food groups, interactive food trivia and fun movement! During the virtual tour, children and families will receive shopping tips and product recommendation on how to add more nutrition to their cart. The Kids Food Group Tour is great for families and school classrooms! Appropriate for kids 4+. Click here to register today.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.