The Family Dinner Table Adds Value

In the hurried pace of life in the 21st Century, we often fail to sit down together for family meals. That failure negatively affects the health and well-being of our families.

With music lessons, sports practice, play rehearsal and work schedules, it’s easy to skip family meals. But research shows that eating as a family has great benefits for your children and teen-agers.

Here are some of the reasons why you should try to sit down together at least five or six times a week, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect and learn from one another. It’s a chance to share information and news of the day. Family meals foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging.

Family mealtime offers an opportunity to display appropriate table manners, meal etiquette and social skills. Keep the mood light, relaxed and loving.

Family meals offer the chance to encourage children to try new foods. It’s easy to introduce a new food along with some of the stand-by favorites. Trying a new food is like starting a new hobby. It expands your child’s knowledge, experience and skill.

Meals prepared and eaten at home usually are more nutritious and healthy. They contain more fruits, vegetables and dairy products along with additional nutrients such as fiber, calcium and vitamins. Home cooked meals are usually not highly salted, plus soda and sweetened beverage consumption is usually lower at the dinner table.

Children today are missing out on the importance of knowing how to plan and prepare meals. Basic cooking, baking and food preparation are necessities for being self-sufficient. Involve your family in menu planning, grocery shopping and food preparation.

Research shows that eating together at least five times a week is associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking and illegal drug use in pre-teens and teen-agers when compared to families that eat together two or fewer times per week.

Children do better in school when they eat more meals with their parents and family. Teen-agers who eat dinner four or more times per week with their families have higher academic performance compared with teen-agers who eat with their families two or fewer times per week.

Meals purchased away from home cost two to four times more than meals prepared at home.

Sharing meals together gives everyone a sense of identity. It can help ease day-to-day conflicts, as well as establish traditions and memories that can last a lifetime.

Make time to eat together – your whole family will benefit.


Dino’s Storage offers “EATING HEALTHY” tips!

Several polls and studies show one of the most common new year resolutions are to eat healthier (another common one is loosing weight).  Unfortunately, these are also two resolutions most commonly not kept. So if your resolution is to eat healthier, this may help you keep it and make sure you are doing it right.


(How to cut, cook & sip for the most health benefits)

Choosing whole foods over supplements or fresh produce instead of processed potato chips is a no-brainer. But how to cook those foods to get the most bang for your buck isn’t always as obvious. Should you make enough salad for the whole week? Is it better to blend fresh or frozen fruit in a smoothie? Which is ideal: steaming or boiling your vegetables?

The short answer is that the healthiest cooking and prep methods change from food to food. “Heat, water, storage and exposure to air can all cause certain foods to lose their nutrients”, says Mary Cluskey, Ph.D, R.D., associate professor of nutrition at Oregon State University.


Your mistake: Microwaving or boiling them

The fix: Steaming

Why it works: Steaming helps retain cancer-fighting nutrients in broccoli better than other cooking methods, reports a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sulforaphane (a plant compound with strong anti-cancer properties) is abundant in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and arugula. The enzyme myrosinase is necessary to release the compound, but most cooking methods destroy it. Steaming is a slower, gentler heat, and isn’t intense enough to kill myrosinase, explains study author Elizabeth Jeffery, Ph.D. – Cook broccoli in a steaming basket for 3 to 4 minutes for the biggest cancer-fighting boost.


Your mistake: Slicing them before eating

The fix: Eating them whole

Why it works: Whole strawberries contain 8 to 12 percent more vitamin C than the cut fruits, according to a 2011 Brazilian study. That’s because vitamin C begins to break down when it’s exposed to light and oxygen. For the biggest C boost, store whole strawberries in the fridge – cool temperatures help retain vitamin C, too, finds the same study.


Your mistake: Letting a bottle “breathe”

The fix: Sipping a freshly opened bottle

Why it works: When red wine is decanted for long periods of time (up to 12 hours) the organic acids and polyphenols begin to break down, according to a 2012 Chinese study. Leaving the bottle open overnight nixes the usual benefits of a glass of red, including decreased depression, increased testosterone and a healthier heart.


Your mistake: Eating them raw

The fix: Heating them up

Why it works: Tomatoes have been linked to lowering men’s risk of stroke, helping fight prostate cancer and preserving brain power with age. Heating tomatoes significantly increases their levels of lycopene, the chemical that can up antioxidant levels. In fact, a recent study in The British Journal of Nutrition found that raw foodists (people who eat mostly uncooked produce) were deficient in lycopene. Cook tomatoes in olive oil for the biggest nutritional boost: Lycopene is fat-soluble, meaning you need fat in your diet for your body to absorb it properly.

Frozen produce

Your mistake:Skipping the frozen food section when shopping

The fix: Hit the freezers

Why it works:  “Most people think only fresh is healthy, but this is a huge misconception,” says Cluskey. In fact, U.K. scientists found that in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and vegetables packed higher levels of antioxidants (including polyphenols, vitamin C and beta-carotene) than the fresh kind. As produce ages, nutrients begin to change and break down, says Cluskey. It’s therefore better to eat food that was frozen at prime ripeness with its nutrients intact than week-old produce that no longer has the same beneficial chemical makeup.