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The Benefits of Family Mealtime

It’s no surprise that mealtime has changed drastically over the years. These days, dinner is about convenience. Between work, school, soccer practice and ballet lessons, who has the time to cook?

If this scenario is not far from your own, it might be time for a refresher on the benefits of family mealtime.

  • Serve as role models. Family mealtime is the right time to teach your kids how to eat right, cook healthfully and practice good manners.
  • Connect with family members. For many, it provides the perfect forum for conversation, to stay involved in each other’s lives, and to comfort each other after a long day. Make sure your mealtime environment is distraction-free; avoid phone conversations and watching TV during mealtime.
  • Take a mental break! Too many of us forget to stop running in our hamster wheels. It’s important to take these necessary breathers, and for children it helps provide a stress-free environment.
  • Encourage participation, from all family members, in meal preparation, setting the table and passing around food for serving. This can help establish independence by developing food selection and preference, and enhancing motor skills.
  • It’s more nutritious if meals are prepared and enjoyed in the right setting. Cooking meals rather than ordering take-out can save on calories, fat and sodium. Smaller portions may be consumed if served “family-style” and if eaten slowly and consciously.

Mealtime is about tradition– keeping the old ones and creating new ones that will resonate with the family for generations. Set the right tone in your household and celebrate the joys of mealtime, so your children can forever appreciate the tradition!

Kale & Onion Quesadillas

Makes: 4 quesadillas

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 whole wheat tortilla wraps
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese, mexican blend
  • 1/4 cup onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon light butter spread
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft.
  2. Add minced garlic and kale into the skillet. Toss consistently. Cook down for about 3 minutes or until greens begin to wilt. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Lightly butter one side of each tortilla. Lay one tortilla butter-side down on a plate. Layer cheese, onions, and kale. Drizzle hot sauce onto filling. Place the second tortilla (butter-side up) on top.
  4. Cook the quesadilla on a medium-sized grill pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, flipping once.*

*Tip: Use a large spatula to help you flip the quesadilla easily and neatly! 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (Two quesadillas): 192 Calories, 7 g Fat (2.5 g Sat Fat), 296 mg Sodium, 27 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fiber, 8.5 g Protein

Article originally published on the Pathmark Wellness Blog

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