The healthy way

Mostly con­sid­ered break­fast food, eggs make de­li­cious, fuss- free meals. Some tips to trans­form sup­per­time at home — with a su­per in­gre­di­ent to boot Want to lose weight? With only about six grams of pro­tein and only 80 calo­ries per egg, they are a great s

WKND - - Main Meals -

Wi t h sum­mer i n t h e r e a r v i e w mir r o r , many fam­i­lies will now be pressed f or time: Both ‘ Fall’ ( when tem­per­a­tures go down and kids go back to school) and Win­ter ( dom­i­nated by the hol­i­days) are jam- packed sea­sons. It may be dif­fi­cult to find time for ev­ery­thing you need to do, in­clud­ing eat­ing reg­u­lar meals to­gether as a fam­ily — per­haps, es­pe­cially that last bit.

Re­search shows that sit­ting down for fam­ily meals yields many ben­e­fits, from serv­ing as a time to bond, to in­still­ing healthy din­ing habits in your chil­dren. “Reg­u­larly sit­ting down to dine with their par­ents is in­cred­i­bly health­ful for kids, both men­tally and phys­i­cally,” says reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Lyssie Lakatos.

“It is well worth the ef­fort to en­sure that your fam­ily can share reg­u­lar, well- balanced meals to­gether. And you can do it too! You just need some cre­ativ­ity, plan­ning and pow­er­fully nu­tri­tious in­gre­di­ents.”

Lakatos of­fers some tips to help par­ents hon­our the health­ful tra­di­tion of fam­ily meal­time:

In­vest 15 min­utes ev­ery week­end to plan the week’s din­ner menus in ad­vance.

Know­ing what you’ll be mak­ing en­sures you won’t have the stress of com­ing up with ideas at the last minute when every­one is hun­gry; you’ll also be able to shop ef­fi­ciently for in­gre­di­ents you know you’ll need. Plus, kids will en­joy look­ing for­ward to the evening when you’ll serve their favourite foods. You can also make the process easy by us­ing one of sev­eral free menu plan­ners avail­able on­line.

*Get every­one in­volved. Fam­ily meal­time is an op­por­tu­nity to teach kids good nu­tri­tion, culi­nary skills and life lessons — all while bond­ing in a re­laxed at­mos­phere. You can in­volve your chil­dren in meal prepa­ra­tion by as­sign­ing them age- ap­pro­pri­ate tasks such as set­ting the ta­ble, pour­ing drinks, gath­er­ing in­gre­di­ents and even cooking. They’re less likely to kick up a fuss if every­one is in­volved too.

Dis­con­nect from tech 30 min­utes to an hour be­fore the meal.

Many fam­i­lies have a no- de­vice pol­icy at the din­ner ta­ble. The idea, of course, is to en­cour­age con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple in front of you. But by mak­ing every­one put away tech­nol­ogy in ad­vance, you free them up to help out too. You’ll also en­sure no one is late to the ta­ble be­cause they have to send one last text — this means you too, par­ents!

*Sim­plic­ity is a time- saver. Din­ner might not be the best time to take risks and pre­pare some­thing no one has tried be­fore. A sim­ple meal takes less time to pre­pare, and may also be more en­tic­ing to kids. Choose sim­ple, nu­tri­tious meals — that’s where eggs come in. Eggs of­fer lean, ver­sa­tile and de­li­cious pro­teins ( much like fish or lentils) and are nu­tri­ent- rich. But also do your re­search and choose which eggs you want to buy care­fully, as not all eggs are cre­ated equal!

“The im­por­tance of fam­ily meals just can­not be un­der­stated to­day,” Lakatos says. “It’s a great time to get back to hav­ing reg­u­lar meal­times to­gether with the fam­ily again.”

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