(BPT) – With fall back in full swing, everyone’s schedules are busier than ever. Between school, work, after-school activities, errands and more, it’s all too easy for quality time like family meals to take a back seat.
This autumn, make a point to commit to making family meals a regular part of your schedule! Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner wants to help families continue to build strong bonds this fall and beyond, with five tips that will help you prioritize quality family time and your nutrition.
1. Create a meal plan
Each week, sit down with your family and create a meal plan. This will help keep you organized and streamline grocery shopping even during the most hectic weeks, while also ensuring everyone is excited to share a meal together. More importantly, planning a meal schedule as a family encourages communication and strengthens familial bonds.
2. Involve the whole family in cooking and prep
Involving the whole family in cooking and preparing meals provides a valuable opportunity to gain culinary skills and learn about nutrition. It also presents a time to bond with one another and create lasting memories together as a family. Meal times become even more special knowing that everyone had a part in putting the meal together.
3. Establish a mealtime
Keeping mealtimes around the same time every day helps to establish a routine. By doing so, mealtimes will act as an anchor for your family in their daily schedule. No matter how busy you get, your mealtimes will create a sense of stability and togetherness. Also, regular mealtimes can encourage everyone to improve their time management skills and curb unhealthy snack choices.
4. Introduce table talk
Introducing table talk will give your family something to look forward to at mealtimes since it allows everyone to talk about the ups and downs of their day. Table talk is incredibly important for children as they mature because it gives them a daily safe space to talk with their parents about the wins and challenges they face in and out of school.
5. Cook with more nutritious ingredients
Blatner also recommends making recipes with nutritious ingredients to keep your family feeling their best during meals, like this tasty Pad Thai from Eggland’s Best that uses Eggland’s Best eggs. Eggland’s Best eggs contain 25% less saturated fat compared to ordinary eggs, which helps support a balanced diet. They’re also an excellent source of Vitamin B5, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system and assists the body in using other vitamins, especially Vitamin B2, which helps manage stress.
Prep time: 45 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
- 2 large Eggland’s Best Eggs
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste or substitute
- 3/4 cup water (boiling)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 8 ounces dried rice stick noodles, about 1/8 inch wide (the width of linguine)
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined if desired
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (1 tablespoons)
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimp, chopped fine (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Thai salted preserved radish (optional)
- 6 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- 5 medium scallions, green parts only, sliced thin on sharp bias
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- Lime wedges
1. Soak tamarind paste in 3/4 cup boiling water for about 10 minutes, then push it through mesh strainer to remove seeds and fibers and extract as much pulp as possible. Stir fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne and 2 tablespoons oil into tamarind liquid and set aside.
2. Cover rice sticks with hot tap water in large bowl. Soak until softened, pliable and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside. Beat eggs and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until shrimp are opaque and browned about the edges, about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to plate and set aside.
4. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and swirl to coat. Add garlic and shallot, set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds. Add noodles, dried shrimp and salted radish (if using) to eggs. Toss with 2 wooden spoons to combine. Pour fish sauce mixture over noodles, increase heat to high and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated. Scatter 1/4 cup peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup scallions and cooked shrimp over noodles. Continue to cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are tender, about 2 1/2 minutes. If not yet tender, add 2 tablespoons water to skillet and continue to cook until tender.
5. Transfer noodles to serving platter, sprinkle with remaining scallions, 2 tablespoons peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.
Don’t let the fall season keep you from eating well and spending time together as a family. Using these five tips, you can make sure your family is fed and stays connected during a busy fall season.
Upgrade family mealtime
In honor of National Family Meals Month, Eggland’s Best has teamed up with America’s Test Kitchen and GoNoodle to inspire and “eggucate” the next generation of empowered cooks, engaged eaters and curious experimenters. From now until Oct. 3, fans can enter the “Eggstraordinary Family Kitchen” sweepstakes daily for a chance to win the Grand Prize of $5,000 to upgrade the family kitchen, a $250 gift card for groceries, swag and cooking equipment from Eggland’s Best, America’s Test Kitchen and GoNoodle and a three-month supply of Eggland’s Best eggs! Visit EBFamilySweeps.com to enter.