As registered dietitians, one of the first things that we learned during our undergraduate studies was the importance of family mealtime. Although we have fond memories of growing up and having fun family dinners, it hadn’t yet dawned on us how much we’d notice this personally when we had our own kids.
If you’re like us, you look forward to sitting down to dinner with your family for so many reasons. And it turns out that family meal time helps kids to learn good eating habits while also forming stronger bonds between kids and parents.
However, based on the dynamics of the modern family, many people believe family mealtime is fading and a thing of the past. So we were delighted to receive encouraging results of a new survey from Welch’s Kitchen Table Report that shows just the opposite – that families are, in fact, stronger than ever – making time to eat together, talking to one another each day, and truly enjoying spending quality time together. In fact, the survey found:
- 71 percent of respondents say their families eat dinner together as often as or more today than their families did when they were children.
- 84 percent of parents say that one of their favorite parts of the day is when their family eats together.
- 75 percent say that, in an average week, they eat together four or more nights.
Despite the good news, our clients tell us (and we are well aware!) that the modern American family still faces challenges that impact family mealtime, such as a lack of time and financial concerns. So any time that we find delicious, quick, easy and heart-healthy recipes and meal makeover tips we love to share them. Here’s one of our favorite new recipes:
Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos with Tomato and Grape Juice Salsa
- 8, 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
- 1 lb. cooked shredded chicken
- 2 cups dark mixed greens
- 1 1/2 cups tomato and grape juice salsa (recipe below)
- Cilantro, if desired
Ingredients (Tomato and Grape Juice Salsa)
- 3/4 cup low-sodium salsa
- 3/4 cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Juice of 1 lime
Place corn tortillas in a 200° F oven to warm.
While tortillas are warming, in a small saucepan stir together salsa, grape juice and cumin. Heat gently until warmed throughout.
Remove from heat. Add lime juice and stir to incorporate.
Remove corn tortillas from oven. Top each tortilla with mixed greens. Add chicken. Spoon salsa over the chicken. Add cilantro, if desired.
Serving suggestion: Serve tacos with 1/2 cup black beans and 1/2 cup brown rice for a balanced meal. Sauce can also be served over flank steak, fajita meat or rice for added flavor.
Makes 8 servings
Nutrition per serving (1 taco with sauce)
200 calories, 3g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 20g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 3g fiber
(sauce only, 3 tbsp): 15 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 0mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, less than 1g fiber
The Nutrition Twins are working with Welch’s to help to encourage families to eat together and to help make it easier and even more enjoyable to do so.