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It’s More Than Food: It’s Family Meals

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

Getting together around the dinner table and sharing the happenings of the day with meaningful conversation is a great way to end any day. But did you know doing so can have lasting effects on your family?

Routine family meals have been shown to¹:

  • Reduce risky behaviors like smoking and drinking.
  • Increase intake of nourishing foods including fruits, vegetables and dairy.
  • Improve academic performance.
  • Foster stronger family relationships.
  • Increase sense of well‍-‍being and self‍-‍esteem.

With the incredible role eating consistently as a family has on health, well‍-‍being and connection, it’s clear to see how important it is to make family meals a priority. Rest assured, though; there’s no need to begin overthinking dinner! Simply stick with the basics and you’ll be able to whip up nutritious, food‍-‍safe meals the entire family will love for years to come.



Keep Meals Colorful

Add colors of the rainbow to your meals with fruits and vegetables. Offer red tomatoes, orange slices, yellow corn, green leaf salad, purple blackberries or white mushrooms— whatever you choose, vary your colors. Not only will this help provide an array of nutrients, antioxidant‍-‍acting plant compounds, flavors and textures, but it will also help every member of your family work toward daily Fruit and Vegetable Food Group goals. When in doubt, Have A Plant®!



Keep Meals Safe

Did you know the number one cause of foodborne illness is right at your fingertips— not a far‍-‍off place where food is harvested and processed? Proper handwashing remains the top way you can prevent foodborne illness (e.g.: washing hands with running water and soap for at least 20 seconds). After that, following the Core Four Practices from the Partnership for Food Safety Education will keep meals safe time after time.

  • CLEAN surfaces such as refrigerator shelves, countertops, cutting boards and serving utensils.
  • SEPARATE raw, uncooked eggs, meat, seafood, poultry and flour from the rest of your food.
  • COOK foods to their proper internal temperature, by verifying with an instant‍-‍read food thermometer AND hold hot foods above 140 Degrees Fahrenheit (ºF) without falling from this temperature for longer than 1 to 2 hours (depending on if the outside temperature is 90ºF or greater), when being served.
  • COOL foods at a temperature lower than 40ºF when stored and served outside of refrigeration longer than 1 to 2 hours (depending on if the outside temperature is 90ºF or greater).



Keep It Simple Silly (K.I.S.S.)

There’s no need for every meal occasion to feel like a chore. There are plenty of Quick, Easy Meals available at Big Y! Whether you’re picking up pre‍-‍washed, pre‍-‍trimmed vegetables from our Produce Department, Ready. Chef. Go!‍‍™ Garlic Butter Salmon and Broccoli from our Seafood Department, a Barley & Tuscan Kale Grain Bowl from our Food Service Department, Loaded Cauliflower Salad from our Deli Department or Kentucky Bourbon and Pineapple Salsa Seasoned Boneless Chicken Breast from our Meat Department, our grab‍-‍and‍-‍go meal solutions are packed fresh every day so you can enjoy dinner with your family in minutes.

Join the #FamilyMealsMovement

September is National Family Meals Month™! Join the movement and pledge to commit to eating at least one more family meal each week. Learn more about taking the pledge and check out our tips and resources, cooking inspirations and meal solutions by visiting https://www.bigy.com/FamilyMeals.

¹The Food Industry Association. Retailer Toolkit Join The Family Meals Movement! https://www.fmi.org/family-meals/toolkits/retailer-toolkit. Accessed June 18, 2021.

Published 9/5/2022