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September is National Family Meal Month; here's some motivation to get a routine in place

Posted at 2:18 PM, Sep 01, 2021

September is National Family Meal Month and if you don't have a solid family meal routine, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Trish Brimhall, taught us the benefits of having family dinner with your kids from babies to teens and even continuing the routine when you become empty nesters.

For younger families, family mealtime means new parents feel more satisfaction with their marriages. Young children develop larger vocabularies and that helps with reading performance. Also starting young kids out with family dinner means better eating patterns and lower risk of weight problems later in life.

For families with school-age kids, there is a strong link between academic performance and family dinner. Family dinner means that kids feel a stronger connection to parents and siblings and stronger self-esteem. Plus, they have higher intakes of fruits and veggies and better nutrient balance.

For families with teens, benefits include higher grades, lower incidence of high-risk behaviors like substance abuse, eating disorders, and teen pregnancy. Teens that regularly eat family dinner have lower risk of depression and anxiety and better cardiovascular health. Plus, family dinner is a great chance to check in with kids and have some valuable face-to-face communication.

But family dinner isn't just a benefit for kiddos, adults benefit as well. Better nutrition with more fruits and veggies and less fast food, less dieting, lower risk of depression and increased self-esteem make family dinner a personal priority.

Even if you are an empty nester or live alone, making sit-down meals and inviting friends over regularly can provide similar benefits.

Sorghum Split Pea Soup
Total Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1¼ cup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
¾ cup sliced carrots
¾ cup sliced celery
1½ teaspoons minced garlic
6 cups no-salt-added chicken stock
1¼ cups green split peas
1 small ham bone
2/3 cup chopped ham
2/3 cup pearled sorghum
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Chopped fresh thyme and cracked black pepper (optional)

In a 4-quart stock pot or large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally 10 to 12 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken stock, split peas, ham bone, ham, sorghum, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 45-60 minutes or until split peas are soft and sorghum is tender.
Remove ham bone, thyme sprigs and bay leaves from soup. Remove ham from bone, chop ham and return to pot. Discard bone, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with chopped fresh thyme and cracked black pepper, if desired.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories 336, Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 2g), Cholesterol 22mg, Sodium 573mg, Total Carb 48g (Dietary Fiber 12g, Sugars 7g) Protein 20g, Vitamin D 3%, Calcium 5%, Iron 17%, Potassium 19%, Phosphorus 227mg (18%)

For more information or to chat with Trish go to