Healthy Living Blog

Family Meals Matter

Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,


Tina Miller 2011September 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:

Family dinners have been linked to:

  • A lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, and eating disorders
  • Higher grades and an increased chance of graduating from high school
  • A healthier diet
  • Stronger family bonds with better parent-child/teen communication
  • Better self-esteem and social skills

Family Meals Provide Benefits for Everyone!

Family meals offer better nutrition for the entire family, not just the children.  Help your family develop healthier habits with family meals that often provide:

  1. More fruits and vegetables – When cooking at home, you have the opportunity to include more nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.
  2. Less saturated fat, trans-fat, sodium and cholesterol – You control the ingredients added to the meal!
  3. Improved nutrition in young adulthood – Adolescents who regularly eat meals with their families have higher intakes of fruit, vegetables and key nutrients later in young adulthood. They also have lower intakes of soft drinks.
  4. Increased intake of necessary nutrients including: Fiber, Calcium, Folate, Iron, Protein and multiple vitamins.
  5. Better portion sizes. Restaurants tend to serve patrons too much, which leads to overeating. When you prepare your meal at home, you greater control over how much you and your child consume.

Family Food Rock Star!

Don’t forget that Meijer and Produce for Kids are sponsoring the “Family Food Rockstar” Produce for Kids 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 to show off what’s on your table and learn more about how you could win a Meijer $100 gift card!


Recipes: Easy Family One-Pot (or Pan) Meals!


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.


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



  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,


Honey Mustard Chicken & Veggies

Makes 4 servings

Sheet pan dinners are a busy parent’s best friend. All you need is a sheet pan, some veggies, a protein and your favorite seasonings, and you can have a healthy, home cooked meal on the table with little-to-no work and clean-up! For this recipe, we tossed the veggies and chicken in a tangy honey mustard sauce for one tasty dinner.



1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon True Goodness® by Meijer™ honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved

1 sweet potato, peeled, chopped

1/2 small sweet onion, chopped

4 True Goodness® by Meijer™ boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix mustard, honey, oil, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and onions, tossing to coat. Spread vegetables on baking sheet, leaving space in middle.
  3. Add chicken to bowl and toss with remaining sauce. Place chicken in middle of baking sheet.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

Nutrition information per serving: 302 Calories, 10g fat, 83mg cholesterol, 16g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 33g protein, 155mg sodium