From The Nutritionist

Kristen Kauffman, nutrition intern
Guest Author:
Kristen Kauffman, nutrition intern

Spend Dinner Time with Family This September

September brings the end of summer, crisp, fall air, and oh, yeah…school starts up again! With classes, extra-curricular activities, and work, schedules can get pretty hectic. It is easy to let family mealtime fall off the list of priorities and opt for fast food or eating in shifts. However, making time to eat together AND eat nutritiously is beneficial for your family and your wallet.

September is National Family Meals MonthTM, a month dedicated to encouraging families to eat just one more meal together each week. Meals that are shared together have been associated with healthy eating, weight control, and happier and healthier children.1 Frequent family meals and strong relationships within the family unit are also associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. 2-4

Growing up in a family of five kids, it was a challenge to get everyone together for dinner. My mom was the queen of deciding what we were going to eat about an hour before dinner time. Sounds crazy, right?! Meal planning can be a challenge in itself; add in managing 7 different schedules and it was chaos! But that is the norm in many households.

Eating together doesn’t have to be a challenge. Visit Campbell’s Nutritious Recipes to find savory recipes that require little prep time; this allows you to spend some extra time with your family.

Simple solutions to make family dinner a reality:


    Santa Fe Chicken Sauté

  1. Put it in the slow cooker. You can prepare your meals hours ahead of time and still be able to pick everyone up from their after school activities without worrying if you will have time to cook. Try Campbell’s Slow Cooker Fall Harvest Pork Stew for a nutritious, easy dinnertime fix.
  2. One Dish meals. Casseroles and bakes are easy to prepare and enjoy. Using fewer dishes also cuts down on your cleanup time, allowing you to spend more time with your family. Try a Santa Fe Chicken Sauté or Chicken Tortilla Casserole for easy prep and cleanup.
  3. It doesn’t have to be dinner. Dinner is the first meal that comes to most people’s minds to eat with their family, but for you, that might be your busiest time. Eating breakfast or lunch together counts too! Next Saturday, make something that everyone will love like Cinnamon Swirl French Toast with Strawberry Compote and enjoy spending a morning meal together.
  4. Cinnamon Swirl
    French Toast
    with Strawberry
    Compote

  5. Do double duty. Make a chili or stew for dinner tonight and freeze the leftovers, providing you with a dinner for next week, too.

I am so grateful that my mom encouraged our family to eat meals together. The conversations that we shared around the table left a great impression on me. I still make many of my mom’s classic recipes today.

Excited about eating more meals together as a family? You can pledge online by using the hashtags #familymealsmonth and #raiseyourmitt. Be part of Family Meals MonthTM and enjoy spending time together as a family.

Bon appetite!

Kristen

Kristen’s Bio

Kristen is currently a senior at West Chester University studying Nutrition and Dietetics. This past summer Kristen completed a 12-week internship at the Campbell Soup Company as the Health Science and Regulatory Affairs intern. Through this experience, she saw the role of a dietitian in the food industry. Her future goals are to complete a dietetic internship, and ultimately work in the area of nutrition education and communication.

References

  1. Berge, J. (2015). The protective role of family meals for youth obesity: 10-year longitudinal associations. The Journal of Pediatrics, 166.
  2. Meier, A. and Musick, K. (2014) Variation in associations between family dinners and adolescent well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76.
  3. Eisenberg, Marla E, ScD, MPH; Olsen, Rachel E, MS; Neumark-Sztainer, Dianne, PhD, MPH, RD; Story, Mary, PhD, RD; Bearinger, Linda H, PhD, MS. (2004) Correlations between Family Meals and Psychosocial Well-being Among Adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics: 158 (8) 792-796. (August 2015).
  4. Cook, Eliza and Dunifon, Rachel. Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference? Cornell University of Human Ecology. 2012. (August 2015).

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.