Health Advice



Nutrition News: Family Mealtime

Charlyn Fargo on

-- Ask for help. You probably have a little army of helpers right at your fingertips. Asking kids to set the table, pour drinks, chop veggies or help make a salad doesn't just make your job easier -- it also teaches them that taking the time and effort to eat together as a family is important. Little kids can practice counting skills by getting the correct number of forks and napkins for the table. Teens love the independence they have when shopping for groceries. Hand them some money and a grocery list and let them pick out an extra vegetable or some whole-grain bread for dinner.

-- Make it fun. Add some fun and excitement with food themes. You can use a checkered tablecloth for an Italian-inspired meal or prepare fresh Asian cuisine and eat with chopsticks. Throw a blanket on your family-room floor and enjoy a family picnic. Let everyone choose a theme and you'll see that your choices are endless. Keep everyone involved in conversations by asking each person to share something that happened that day or week that was funny, weird, scary or challenging.

Q and A

Q: Are steel-cut oats better than rolled oats or instant oatmeal?

A: All oats are nutritious, fiber-rich whole grains and are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber associated with reducing blood cholesterol levels and colon cancer risk. Cut oats (like steel-cut) retain more of their intact structure than rolled. That means cut oats take longer to digest and raise blood sugar levels even more slowly. That may help you feel full longer. Either steel-cut or rolled oats are often better choices than instant varieties, because the instant varieties often contain more sugar and can thus boost blood sugar. If you prefer the consistency of instant oats, look for a plain variety or one with lower sugar.



Looking for a great fall dessert that also includes a serving of fruit? Try this rustic fruit tart from the Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

Rustic Fruit Tart

Servings: 12

1 teaspoon extra-light olive oil


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