Nutrition news

Nutrition: Eat Together to Build Good Habits – Duluth News Tribune

For many families, the buzz of busy summer days fades away and turns to more structured school days. Maybe summer has been an endless picnic, grabbing snacks and charcuterie on the go with less time thinking about what to cook in the kitchen. Now comes the critical time, back to school, meet and greets, sporting events and classes to attend are just the tip of the long waiting list for busy families.

With this change, caregivers may feel the pressure to feed the family is too much and may want to let the family meal take precedence over other obligations. It absolutely takes time and focus and yet it is what our families need the most.

In times of transition, we need to feel a solid and stable base that supports us along the way. Gathering around the table is far more important than what is on the table. When a family sits together to share a meal, it helps them deal with the stresses and hassles of everyday life. Eating together helps promote more sensible eating habits, communication, and detaching from our electronic devices.

Involving the family in meal planning and preparation can bring you together in a positive dining experience. But don’t discount the importance of sitting down with bags of fast food or containers of deli meats, it’s still considered sharing a meal. Don’t waste it by saying, “We shouldn’t eat that” or “That’s not healthy.” These words negate the act of coming together, connecting with love and feeding our hungry bodies. There is plenty of room for “health foods” when time permits to plan and prepare them.

As our children face the challenges and anxieties of new teachers, new classrooms and the rekindling of old friendships; because other roommates can acquire new professional skills or get to know new colleagues; knowing with certainty that there is a fixed mealtime creates a space of peace and comfort in a world in turmoil.

Our family – children, spouses, roommates, partners, pets – deserves and needs our time and attention more than anything else. Spending time at the table, face to face, listening to understand. When it feels comfortable, start considering what’s on the table.

Easy Dinner Plate Chicken Caprese


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 6 fresh basil leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a rimmed baking sheet and spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle the pan with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  3. Scatter the cherry tomatoes on the baking sheet and move them around the pan to coat them with oil and seasoning.
  4. Arrange the chicken in the center of the baking sheet and move the tomatoes to the outside of the baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top of the chicken and cook the chicken for about 20-25 minutes.
  6. While the chicken cooks, add vinegar to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat and reduce by half for about 7-8 minutes, then turn off the burner.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, then place a slice of mozzarella on each chicken breast. Return the baking sheet to the oven to melt the cheese (5-7 more minutes) and cook the chicken until the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  8. Pour the balsamic reduction over the chicken and tomatoes.
  9. Serve with crusty bread and a side salad if desired.