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A Meal is a Family Affair

Nov. 1, 2012

Oak Creek, Wis. – Today’s working families seem to be on the run more than ever. Because of this, it often seems impossible to enjoy a family meal together. However, this time together is critical, and you could be jeopardizing your family’s well-being by not making eating together a priority.

According to a report written by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, which has researched family patterns of behavior for years, “the engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance- free.”
Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers, with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, echoes this research. “Taking the time to eat a meal together is the perfect way to connect as a family after a hectic day. It helps everyone feel important and gives them the opportunity for their voice to be heard. It helps foster a family bond that shouldn’t be underestimated. In addition, it is also a great way to make sure all of you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals.”

Here are some tips to make family meals happen:

Plan Ahead
Anderson recommends that every Saturday, a family take some time together to plan out what they would like their next week’s meals to be.

“By allowing everyone to have a say in this, there will be less arguing during the week about what is being served.”

Then, based off of this list of menu items, you can make a shopping list to purchase the items will you need to make the meals.
On Sunday, Anderson suggests that you prep as much food as possible for the week.

“By taking the time, while you have it on the weekend, to clean and chop up your vegetable, you will have an easier time quickly putting dinner together after a hectic day in the office, because you will only need to mix everything together.”

Make Extra
Anderson also says that when you make your menus, think about how you can make meals that piggy back on each other. For instance, if you have chicken breasts one night for dinner, consider making extra, so the next night you can have chicken burritos, and the following night chicken Caesar salads.

“By planning ahead, you can greatly reduce the prep time it takes to make a healthy meal your family can enjoy together.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “A Meal Is A Family Affair” on Thursday, November 15th, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Oak Creek Center, located at 220 West Forest Hill Avenue, Oak Creek. In many of today’s households, family dinners have become a thing of the past. With busy schedules held by both parents and children, many families rarely have time to eat dinner together. In recent years, nutrition professionals have been promoting family dinners as research demonstrates the benefits that eating together can provide to family members. You may be wondering why family dinners are so important. Come to this Family Fun Night to learn why “A Meal Is A Family Affair!” Activities will include creating family-style meals in the dramatic play area, making paper plate meals, and writing down conversation starters. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required at least one week in advance. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers a variety of FREE Family Fun Nights and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.

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"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

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