September is Family Meals Month - Make it Easy with Meijer! - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

September is Family Meals Month - Make it Easy with Meijer!

September is Family Meals Month!  

Sharing mealtime with your family can have tremendous benefits for everyone’s health and well-being. However, less than 30% of families enjoy dinner together most nights of the week. Research suggests that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development: 
-    A lower risk of obesity
-    A lower risk of substance abuse and eating disorders
-    An increased chance of graduating from high school
-    Families also tend to have a healthier diet 

Be a Family Food Rock Star!

Meijer Produce for Kids Back to School Family Meals contest
    Meijer and Produce for Kids (PFK) are teaming to bring Jump with Jill, a rock & roll nutrition show, to local schools. From Sept. 4 to Oct. 1, shoppers can look for Produce for Kids recipes in the produce department of all Meijer stores. Supporting the brands featured in the recipes helps raise funds to support nutrition education by Jump with Jill.
    During the PFK campaign (September 4 – October 1, 2016) families can post pictures of their family shopping, preparing, or cooking a meal with the hashtag #FamilyFoodRockstar for a chance to win a $100 Meijer gift card.  Eat healthy and support nutrition education by purchasing sponsoring Produce for Kids products.  Visit www.jumpwithjill.com/familyfoodrockstar to show off what’s on your table and learn more about how you could win a Meijer $100 gift card!
    As we celebrate Family Meals Month this September, challenge your family to share 1 more meal each week. Here are some healthy, family-friendly dinner ideas that kids can help with.


Meatless Monday-30-Minute Veggie Tortellini Soup
Serves: 8
This easy vegetable soup recipe is ready in only 30 minutes, so it's perfect dinner for a busy weeknight. Leftovers make for the perfect hearty lunch.

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon True Goodness® by Meijer™ Organic Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 carton (32 oz.) True Goodness® by Meijer™ Vegetable Stock
1 can (14.5 oz.) Meijer Italian Seasoned Diced Tomatoes
1 head escarole roughly chopped OR 4 cups fresh baby spinach or baby kale
1 can (15 oz.) True Goodness® by Meijer™ Organic Whole Kernel Corn, do not drain 
2 cups Pero Family Farms® snipped green beans
1 package dry tortellini
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1.    Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, onion and carrots. Cook 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
2.    Increase heat to high; add broth, tomatoes, corn and green beans. Bring to a boil and escarole or other greens and tortellini. Reduce heat and simmer 9-10 minutes, or until tortellini is cooked. Top with 1½ tsp. cheese.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 275, Fat 8g, Protein 12g, Carbohydrates 39g, Fiber 5g, Sodium 584 mg
Recipe Source: Produce for Kids, www.produceforkids.com/meijer 


One-Pot Chicken Lo Mein (Super Easy Prep. and Clean Up!)
Makes 8 servings
One Pot Wonders are all the rage, and for good reason! What’s easier than throwing everything into a pot (no need to cook the pasta!) and having dinner ready in 20 minutes with little to no work? This recipe for chicken lo mein will have you skipping on take-out and opting for a family-friendly, home-cooked meal instead.

1/2 pound True Goodness® by Meijer™ boneless chicken breast, cut into small strips
1 (16oz.) box whole wheat linguini
8 ounces matchstick carrots
1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
8 ounces white sliced mushrooms
4 green onions, sliced into 1-inch strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 quart True Goodness® by Meijer™ chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.    Add chicken and pasta, then carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, broth and oil to large stockpot. Cover, bring to a rolling boil over high heat and stir. Cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until most of the liquid is gone and the chicken is cooked through.
2.    Remove from heat, uncover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:  369 Calories, 9g fat, 56g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 15g protein, 452mg sodium
Source: Produce for Kids

Theme Night (Make it Simple and Make it Fun!)
Theme Night: What could be more fun than creating a themed dinner for you and your family? There are many themes to choose from – Ethnic meals, breakfast for dinner, or a movie theme.  We chose Star Wars - The food is simple and healthy and your children can decorate the table and assist with the prep. 

Star Wars Veggie & Chicken Soup 
Makes approx. 4 servings

2 cans Campbell’s® Star Wars Condensed Soup
2 soup cans water           
1 package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1.    Add soup, water, vegetables and chicken to a large pot.
2.    Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are tender.
3.    Let cool slightly before serving.


Lightsaber Skewers

Thread green grapes and other fruits onto short wooden skewers for each person.

“Ham Solo” Sandwiches

Whole grain bread
Low fat cheddar cheese slices
Lean ham slices
Low fat mayonnaise

1.    Print out the Millennium Falcon cutout http://inspired.disney.co.uk/cook/toasted-ham-solo-sandwich/
2.    Toast two pieces of bread until medium to well done. Let cool slightly.
3.    Place the cutout on the toast and carefully carve the Millennium Falcon shape out on both slices of toast.
4.    Spread both piece with mayonnaise. Add low fat cheese slices and ham to one piece of toast.
5.    Place the second piece on top.

Yoda Soda

Mix Tropicana Farmstand Tropical Green 100% Fruit and Vegetable Juice with Sparkling Water


Now that you have some delicious recipes to prep, keep your kids engaged at the table with these simple conversation starters:

-    How did you help someone today, and how did someone help you?
-    What do you want to be like when you grow up? 
-    What do you like to daydream about?
-    What's your favourite summer memory?
-    What’s your favourite meal?

For more meal inspiration:

-    Visit Meijer.com/ahealthieryou for weekly dinner menus

-    Check out the Produce for Kids recipe cards in the Meijer produce department during September for more healthy meal ideas

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