New School Year Resolution = Family meals


Family meals don’t have to mean everyone sitting at the table. Even if it is just two people gathered together enjoying each other’s company and meals, it is important to share time with loved ones, device-free, as often as you can!

It’s mid-September and we’re officially off to the races with the school year. You know what that means... Crazed mornings, school lunches and scattered dinners. Guess what? That needs to change! And that’s why September is officially National Family Meals Month. I can’t tell you how many adult and child clients I’ve spoken with who tell me their main issue is getting their arms around meal times. Forget the latest smoothie craze, they need help just figuring out who will be home for a hot meal! I’m not here to shame anyone, but the fact is, we all benefit, both mentally and physically, from eating a meal together. To be honest, none of us are doing it enough.

Instead of making a New Years Resolution to lose weight or spend less time on your phone, try making a New School Year Resolution to eat together, without distractions. It might not be the whole crew sitting down to a roast chicken a la Ina Garten, but aim for at least two members of your family sitting at a table – on real chairs, using plates and utensils (unless it’s taco night), and talking to each other. Even if it is only 20 minutes. Doesn’t seem that hard, right?

Well, in our family, my husband rarely gets home in time for the kids’ dinner, so I eat whatever veggies I’m serving to them with them on the early side, then eat a small meal with my husband when he gets home later. On weekends, we eat as close to 3 meals a day together – as many as we can squeeze in! It is my absolute favorite part of the week when we are all in our pjs in the kitchen on a Saturday morning deciding what kind of eggs to make, with the kids playing and getting ready for whatever is on their crazy schedules. It’s such a special way to catch up on the week when we’ve all been so busy; plus, we’re fresh from a good nights sleep instead of being tired and cranky at the end of a long day.

Check out Harvard University’s for an awesome resource on how to reinvigorate your family meals – from insightful tips and problem solving skills to great recipes and conversation starters. Thiswebsite is helpful for families with kids of ALL ages. The New York Times put together a great article recently about this topic, as well – How to Have Better Family Meals with some helpful tips. Check it out to get those wheels turning on how to get your family gathered around the table.


In short – here are my 3 Roundtable Nutrition tips for family meals:

  1. Sit at a table – we all have one, even if it’s currently being used as a dumping ground for mail and laundry. USE IT.

    SIT AT IT.

    EAT ON IT.

  2. Use a napkin – sounds silly, but small details like that will help differentiate dinnertime as a meal, instead of a snack. If you have little ones, take the opportunity to get them involved – have them pick out which napkins to use and show them how to fold them, even if it’s paper!

  3. Set a timer for 20 minutes – don’t get up from the table until 20 minutes is up. Everything can wait – even the phone, laundry, homework or your favorite show. Sit together, talk about anything... Or talk about nothing. Just sit together. The simple act of sitting together can help calm the brain and settle the mind.

I have more ideas and tips for you if this is an issue with your family, so feel free to set up an appointment to discuss more. I’d love to hear YOUR tips and ideas on how you make this a priority for your family, too!

XX Catherine


Back-to-School Snacks and Tips

It's that time of year again – transitioning to another school year and waving good-bye to another summer. There are a lot of posts out there right now about healthy lunches but my clients are always asking me about snacks - both for their kids and themselves! An afternoon snack can be a real game-changer for your kids in terms of energy levels and moods after a long day in the classroom. I also have seen what it can do for a busy mom on the run! So here are my tips:

1) Plan ahead:

Try snack planning for the month of September instead of meal planning each dinner. This can be a good intro to meal planning if you've never done it before or it's a way to reinvigorate an old habit that you might have dropped for the summer months. It doesn't have to be elaborate, just print out a calendar and write down what the snacks will be for the week ahead. Then stick to the plan and make sure you have all the necessary items for that week. It's amazing how great you will feel if you have a snack packed and ready for you and your kids each day of the week. Small goals and big pats on the back!


2) Fiber + Fat + Protein = Best Snack Choices
Include all three components in your snacks to maximize the nutritional benefits. All three will help you stay full until dinner and we all need to make sure that we're getting enough fiber (both you and your kids need around 25 grams per day), which can come in so many forms but I always think it's great to incorporate raw veggies in your snacks but some other ideas are: popcorn, nuts, berries. Add a cheese stick or some hummus for healthy fats and you're ready to push through the rest of your day.



3) Water:
I carry my water bottle around with me everywhere and have probably ruined more handbags with a loose cap than anything else. Aim for 48-64 oz per day (not including coffee!) for yourself. And for your kids, don't focus as much on counting the ounces but realize that they might be dehydrated from school and instead of drinking water, they think they're hungry and go for something sugary. Offer water or seltzer at the same time as the snack to make sure they're getting hydrated, especially since it's still pretty warm outside!

Please reach out with any questions! I'm happy to answer and offer more tips!