This guest blog post is written by Jenni Dreyer, RDN, CD, a nutrition communications specialist at Skogen’s Festival Foods in Wisconsin.
No one is going to argue that juggling careers, children, and the never-ending demands of life is exhausting. Unfortunately, this means that family meals are often left behind.
Family meals can make families stronger and greatly benefit the health and wellness of our children. Families that share meals together have children who are less likely to be overweight, perform better in school, and have fewer behavior problems.
This September, the FMI Foundation is encouraging families across the country to participate in National Family Meals Month. The goal is simple – pledge to enjoy one more meal at home per week with your family. While eating at home is one great way to cut back on sodium, we still need to keep a watchful eye on what we’re purchasing and putting on the table.
Here are six easy ways to get your family together for meal times while watching that sodium level.
- Plan ahead. Pick one more day a week where you will sit down as a family and enjoy a meal. Create a meal plan and grocery list to help you prepare. Need some inspiration? Check out some simple recipes.
- Cook at home. Fast food and restaurants are convenient, but these foods are typically higher in sodium. Opt for cooking at home most nights, where you have better control over how much salt is going into your food.
- Salt-free timesavers. You don’t need to cut out all convenience items in order to keep your salt levels low. Look for salt-free options instead. You can find no-salt-added canned and frozen vegetables that will make meal prep a breeze.
- Pair it with fresh. Are you really short on time? Add a healthy colorful vegetable side to your takeout to help round out those salt levels. Steamed vegetables and salads are great accompaniments to your meals.
- Amp up the spices. Who needs salt when you can pump flavor up with herbs and spices instead? The more flavorful a dish, the less you will miss the salt.
- Read the label. Food that contains sodium doesn’t always taste salty. Check the Nutrition Facts label to find out how much sodium your food contains. Also watch out for the Salty Six for Kids.
How are you celebrating National Family Meals Month? Share your story and spread the word!
Jenni Dreyer, RDN, CD is a nutrition communications specialist at Skogen’s Festival Foods in Wisconsin.
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