Health News: How Healthy is the Average Family Meal?

By: Kitty Capelle Email
By: Kitty Capelle Email

Mandi Ortiz is a working mom. A busy schedule combined with a big family make it difficult to plan healthy family meals: especially when not everyone is enthusiastic about vegetables.

Mandi described one instance when she tried to get her son to eat a healthy option.

"He attempted to eat his peas one night, and he threw up all over the table," said Mandi.

But even that horror story shouldn't discourage any parent from trying. A clinical dietitian from Rockingham Memorial Hospital encouraged Mandi, and other parents, to keep bringing healthy foods to the table

"Just keep on reintroducing it. And then eventually, hopefully, they may like one or two of the options," said RMH Clinical Dietitian Miller.

So, what about the pantry in Mandi's home? Just how healthy were the foods inside?

According to Miller, most of the foods were pretty healthy, but she did have some tips to make those foods even better.

"Just for starters, I do notice there are some canned beans here. Our recommendation would be, when you're using canned beans, to pour them out into a colander, and rinse them with water before you go to cook them or add them to a dish because that will drastically decrease the amount of sodium."

But the best part about this kitchen wasn't in the pantry; it was on the counter.

Fruits, and a variety of them, in easy reach were laid out in plain sight. The first thing you see, you're more likely to eat, so positioning the healthy snacks in this way really make a drastic improvement for daily intake of fruits and veggies.

But Miller really encouraged family participation the most.

"The families as a whole are more likely to be healthier just by having meals together and cooking together, even if it's not every night. Just having that open door. You can come and help out and learn how to make this."

Studies show family meals are also a crucial part of social development. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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