Monday, September 8, 2008

Family Dinnertime Benefits Too Tempting to Pass Up

(ARA) - The benefits of the family dinner hour are more than nutritional. Children in families who spend dinnertime together gain dietary, educational and behavioral benefits, as well.

Bringing the family back to the dinner table has been proven to instill lifestyle nutrition values in children, assist in higher academic performance, improve well-being and reduce the risk of unhealthy weight control behavior, particularly in girls, according to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Project EAT.

Family dinnertime is also an opportunity to strengthen communication between parent and child. In a recent Columbia University study, nearly half of the 1,000 teens surveyed said the best time to talk to their parents about something important was during dinner. The report also found that more than 80 percent of teens said they preferred having dinner with their families to eating alone.

Research conducted in 2006 by the NPD Group’s National Eating Trends and CREST Services showed that moms prepared 70 percent of the supper meals eaten at home, meaning that in addition to juggling children’s activities moms are often the bottom line when it comes to getting dinner on the table.

“We’ve been tracking mom’s dinnertime trends over the years and consistently find that the intrinsic benefits of family dinnertime are undeniable -- but it doesn’t need to be stressful for mom,” says Linda McCashion, vice president of public relations at the United States Potato Board.

The United States Potato Board’s new online resource, www.MomsDinnerHelper.com, makes it easy for moms to get a family-worthy meal on the table. On this site, moms are invited to borrow family-favorite recipes from “The Famous Potato Recipe Exchange,” browse “Helpful Dinner Hints” and participate in the “Tater Talk” blog, which is an ongoing dialogue that covers all things potatoes. Most importantly, the site’s content is generated by the nation’s champions of dinnertime: fellow moms.

“Between sports practice, homework and dance recitals, sometimes dinnertime falls to the bottom of the priority list,” McCashion says. “The potato recipes available at www.MomsDinnerHelper.com can help take some of the pressure off.”

Moms already know and trust the potato as a family-favorite vegetable. More than 20 percent of in-home dinner meals include potatoes, according to the NPD Group’s National Eating Trends. That means nearly one out of five weeknight meals features a potato dish of some variety.

Aside from tasting great and being easy to prepare, potatoes are also highly nutritious. One medium-sized (5.3 ounces) potato, eaten with the skin on, has only 110 calories and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Potatoes provide 45 percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C and are also one of the best sources of potassium in the produce section.

The potato recipes available at www.MomsDinnerHelper.com show that there’s no reason to sacrifice nutrition or taste when it comes to the benefits of family dinnertime.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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