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- Resolve to Eat Healthier in 2017 by Making Time to Enjoy Family Meals Together, Health Unit Says -

As families sit down to enjoy festive meals together this holiday season, the local Health Unit wants that tradition to carry on throughout the coming year.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging local families to make the most of mealtime by sitting down together to eat on a regular basis in 2017. When families eat a meal together – especially one that is healthy and home-made – there are benefits for everyone sitting around the table, says Laura Abbasi, a Registered Dietitian with the HKPR District Health Unit.

“Make it your resolution in 2017 to spend time eating meals together as a family,” she says. “Eating together as a family is not without challenges, especially given the hectic pace of life. But it’s certainly a great way to connect with your loved ones and role model healthy eating.”

Family meals allow adults to help children learn lifelong healthy eating habits. Studies also show children who eat together with their families on a regular basis develop higher self-esteem, better mealtime manners, and improved sense of structure and belonging.

To enjoy more meals together as a family in 2017, the Health Unit offers these suggestions:

• Aim to eat at least three family meals together each week.

• Minimize distractions while eating by turning off the TV, cellphones and other electronic devices. The focus of mealtime then becomes the food and each other.

• Be flexible. If families can’t get together for dinner, plan a meal together at breakfast or lunch.

• Keep meal preparation quick and simple. Plan meals ahead of time and make enough food for two meals rather than one. This way, on busy days, food preparation just involves reheating the leftovers.

• Involve all family members – even young children – in menu planning and meal preparation.

• Trust children to know what they want to eat. Don’t force them to eat foods they don’t like; it will just deter them from trying it in the future. If making a meal that includes food children may not like, serve it with a side dish that you know everyone will eat.

• Get more ideas for family meals by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1233, or clicking here.

“Make mealtime magic as a family,” Abbasi says. “Resolve to eat better and more often together in 2017.”

For media inquiries, contact:

Laura Abbasi, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577.

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