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US: ‘Dinner Tonight!’ program focuses on healthful recipes, family mealtime

The idea of a family sitting down together for a meal may seem passé in today’s fast-paced, drive-through society, but a statewide initiative by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is helping families eat healthier — and be together –at mealtime.

“The percentage of the food budget spent on away-from-home food has increased steadily since the 1970s and so has the number of calories,” said Dr. Susan Ballabina, AgriLife Extension associate director for program development, College Station. “There are so many families where both parents work and the kids are on their computers or watching TV and don’t want to stop what they’re doing to have family mealtime.”



“The Dinner Tonight! program was developed by AgriLife Extension agents statewide with the knowledge and expertise to provide resources and recipes to help encourage at-home family mealtime,” Ballabina said. “It provides quick, nutritious, cost-effective recipes to consumers through weekly video cooking webcasts and other web-based methods, including blogs and Facebook, and through healthy cooking schools.”

Every Monday, a new video demonstration is released by a member of the agency’s statewide Dinner Tonight! team, she said. Ballabina said there are now more than 250 free video webcasts of easy-to-prepare, nutritious recipes available at healthyliving.tamu.edu under the Dinner Tonight! tab.

“We ask program participant to fill out a survey so we can see if we are meeting our goals, and a large majority of respondents have stated they intend to incorporate new, healthy foods in their diet, as well as eat more fruits and vegetables and plan healthy meals in advance,” she said. “And all participants who responded said what they learned would benefit their families.”

Click here to read the complete article at today.agrilife.org

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