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Nutrition: Eat together to create good habits

In a time of transition we need to feel a strong and stable foundation supporting us along the way.

Family or friends having seafood summer dinner
Our family deserves and needs our time and focused attention more than anything else. Spend some time at the table.
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For many families the buzz of busy summer days is disappearing and are turning toward more structured school days. Perhaps summer has been one unending picnic, grabbing snacks and deli food on the go with less time thinking about what to cook in the kitchen. Now comes crunch time, back to school, meet and greets, sporting events, and lessons to attend are just the tip of the long list of expectations for busy families.

With this change caregivers may be feeling that the pressure of feeding the family is too much and may want to let the family meal take a back seat to other obligations. It absolutely does take time and focus and yet, that is what our families need most.

In a time of transition we need to feel a strong and stable foundation supporting us along the way. The act of coming together at the table is far more important than what is on the table. When a family sits down together to share a meal, it helps them handle the stresses and hassles of everyday life. Eating together helps to promote more sensible eating habits, communication and detach from our electronic devices.

Getting the family involved in meal planning and preparation can bring you together in a positive dining experience. But don’t disregard the importance of sitting together with bags of fast food or deli containers it is still considered sharing a meal. Don’t ruin it by saying, "We shouldn’t eat this," or "This is not healthy." Those words negate the act coming together, of connecting with love, and of nourishing our hungry bodies. There is plenty of room for "health foods" when time allows for planning and preparing them.

As our children are dealing with the challenges and anxieties of new teachers, new classrooms, and of rekindling old friendships; as other housemates may be learning new job skills or getting to know new coworkers; knowing for certain there is a set meal time creates space for peace and comfort in a world of upheaval.

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Our family — children, spouses, roommates, partners, pets — deserves and needs our time and focused attention more than anything else. Spend some time at the table, face to face, listening to understand. When this feels comfortable then start considering what is on the table.

Easy Caprese Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 boneless chicken breast
  • ½  cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound of fresh mozzarella
  • 6 fresh basal leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out to cover the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle the pan with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. 
  3. Scatter the cherry tomatoes on the baking sheet and move them around the pan to cover in oil and seasoning.
  4. Arrange the chicken in the center of the baking sheet and move the tomatoes the outside of the baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle remaining olive oil over top of the chicken and bake chicken for about 20-25 minutes.
  6. While chicken is baking, add vinegar to a small sauce pan and simmer over medium heat and reduce by half for about 7-8 minutes then shut the burner off. 
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and then place one slice of mozzarella over each chicken breast. Put the baking sheet back in the oven to melt the cheese (5-7 more minutes) and bake the chicken until temperature reads 165 degrees. 
  8. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the chicken and tomatoes. 
  9. Serve with crusty bread and a side salad if desired.
Related Topics: NUTRITIONST. LUKE'S
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