Multiple studies show that home-cooked meals nourish families physically, mentally, and emotionally. For many families, making meals at home isn’t always easy. September is both National Food Safety Education Month and National Family Meals Month™, and UNH Cooperative Extension wants to inspire New Hampshire families to prepare safe and healthy meals at home. Resources from the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) and the Food Marketing Institute Foundation (FMIF) can help families get cooking. UNH Cooperative Extension is also challenging Granite State families to prepare one additional home-cooked family meal each week.
Why should families make more meals at home? According to the Food Marketing Institute Foundation, there are many benefits to families in making and sharing meals at home:
- The more meals families share, the better their nutrition.
- Kids and teens who eat meals with their families 4+ times per week earn better test scores and succeed in school.
- Frequent family meals increase self-esteem, a sense of wellbeing, positive social behaviors and stronger connections among family members.
- The more families share meals the less likely their kids are to drink alcohol, smoke or use marijuana.
To help bring families together in the kitchen and around the table, PFSE has released four easy recipes that include food safety instructions and will support families in preparing meals at home.
Recipes for rosemary turkey meatloaf, roasted garlic cauliflower, maple syrup pork chops and Tex-Mex potato skins are also available at fightbac.org. Each recipe includes food safety instructions built right in. Other resources at fightbac.org can get you started with family meal planning and modeling important safe food handling and preparation behaviors.
For more information on National Family Meals Month™ and research on the benefits of family meals, visit nationalfamilymealsmonth.org.