As the holiday season approaches, many of us will be able to enjoy celebrations and meals with our families, but it’s really important to make family meals a priority as much as possible all year long. That’s why October is Eat Together, Eat Better Month!
Washington State University (WSU) Extension launched this campaign in 1996 and later updated it in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) to promote making healthy choices through family meals.
Benefits of Family Meals
Eat Together, Eat Better highlights multiple benefits of having regular family meals, as studies have demonstrated that doing so supports the physical, social and emotional health of children and teens.
Obviously, in the military community, the whole family may not always be able to eat meals together, particularly if one or more family members are deployed or stationed elsewhere; however, this makes the time you can spend together as a family that much more precious!
When a service member is home, make it a priority to have dinner together as a family as often as possible so you can make the most of your time together! In addition to the nutritional benefits of this practice, continuing it while your loved one is away will help family members grow even closer and support each other during this time.
Your Commissary’s Healthy Living Resources
Your Commissary offers healthy living resources to help you fix more nutritious family meals that the whole family can enjoy!
Nutrition Guide Program
As you shop at Your Commissary, use our Nutrition Guide Program’s color-coded shelf labels to help you stock your shopping basket with healthier choices! These labels use criteria established by the Food & Drug Administration and the USDA to highlight the following key nutrition attributes of many products:
Low Sodium • Low Fat • Whole Grain • No Added Sugar • Good Source of Fiber
Our dietitian developed NGP in partnership with DoD’s “Go for Green” and the Marine Corps’ “Fueled to Fight” programs. NGP labels use a green “Thumbs Up” icon to identify high-performance foods, which meet Go for Green’s criteria for the Green category.
An added plus: NGP labels identify organic products, as well!
Thinking Outside the Box
Our dietitian shares healthy living information and quick meal solutions through Thinking Outside the Box, which we feature on our sales flyers and our website. These meal solutions meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and show how you can fix more nutritious family meals without investing a lot of time or money.
For example, one recent edition of Thinking Outside the Box noted that eating more meals at home can help reduce your calorie consumption, while still allowing you the flexibility to make healthier versions of your favorite takeout dishes, such as Shrimp Fried Rice!
It also offered tips for how to prepare 5-6 dinners at home each week! Click each tab below to learn more:
- Keep it simple
- Cook your meat/poultry in batches
- Plan your meals each week
- Use recipes that have 5 or less ingredients.
- Learn a few quick and nutritious recipes by heart.
- Double the recipe and freeze one batch.
- Choose recipes that use the same meat or poultry, such as chicken breasts.
- Cook the amount needed for both recipes at once.
- Save the extra to give you a jump-start on dinner in a day or two!
- Plan your meals, make a list and shop at Your Commissary at least weekly!
- Check out more “Thinking Outside the Box” meal solutions to get you started.
How many meals does your family eat together at home each week? Have you used our healthy living resources to help you prepare? We invite you to share your thoughts with us in the comments below!