Tip of the Week

With our busy lifestyles today, finding time to shop for groceries, cook, then meet as a family to enjoy a meal together can be a major challenge.

A Harris poll shows only 30 percent of American families share dinner each night. Yet the benefits of maintaining that family time are so substantial that it’s well worth your while to make it happen.

Research shows, for example, that kids and teens who share meals with their families three or more times per week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders. Further, such togetherness is linked with higher grades, better self-esteem and positive behaviors such as sharing, fairness and respect among children who participate.

In that spirit, we asked actress, host, food lover and mom of two Courtney Lopez for some helpful tips on how she gets her family together for mealtime.

1. Unplug and unwind. Make your table a phone-free zone, encouraging everyone to talk about their day. This will help your family grow closer together and become more and more involved in each other’s lives. You might be surprised what you will learn!

2. Try new dishes. Comfort food can be a great thing, but so can the sense of adventure that comes from trying new dishes. Eggs can be incorporated into an endless spectrum of family-friendly recipes like this Southwestern Quinoa and Egg Breakfast Bowl.

3. Make it a team effort. Your family will feel more involved if they share the work. Kids love helping out by cracking eggs, stirring, sprinkling spices or setting the table. Allowing little ones to help out can also get them excited about the meal, even if they tend to be picky eaters. And as the old saying goes, many hands make light work.

4. Plan ahead. It can be tough to have nutritious meals ready to go with a busy schedule, but spending just a few hours of your weekend buying, prepping or even cooking the components of your weekday meals will go a long way. You’ll thank yourself when you’re hungry and tired at the end of a long day; having everything nearly ready to serve reduces the chances you’ll opt for fast food or other less-healthy food options.

5. Focus on the positive. No one wants to share a table with fellow diners who are grouchy and unpleasant to each other - although sometimes that can be unavoidable with kids. To keep it positive during this relatively short time each day, avoid judgments, lectures, sarcasm and snarky comments. Ask each person about the highs and lows of his or her day, setting aside this space and time to celebrate victories and help each other through life’s challenges.

Sharing great food together can be an excellent way to create positive memories and boost family bonding.

— Eggland’s Best/Brandpoint

Family Movie Night

“Teen Titans Go! To the Movies ”

Rated: PG

Length: 1 hour 32 minutes

Synopsis: A villain’s maniacal plan for world domination sidetracks five teenage superheroes who dream of Hollywood stardom.

Book Report

“National Parks of the USA”

Ages: 4 - 8 years

Pages: 112

Synopsis: Take a tour of America’s great outdoors and discover the beauty and diversity of its most iconic and majestic national parks. Explore Florida’s river-laced Everglades, travel down the white water rapids of the Grand Canyon, trek across the deserts of Death Valley and scale the soaring summits of the Rocky Mountains with this book that brings you up close to nature’s greatest adventures. Packed with maps and fascinating facts about the flora and fauna unique to each park, this fully-illustrated coast-to-coast journey documents the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places—and shows why they should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. With maps and information about flora and fauna found in each of the 21 icon parks portrayed, this is a fantastic celebration of the great outdoors.

Did You Know

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 44 percent of older adults experiencing one or more nighttime symptoms of insomnia as least a few nights per week. The study also found that only 10 percent of American adults prioritize their sleep over other aspects of daily living such as fitness/nutrition, work, social life, and hobbies/personal interests. To fight insomnia:, try these tips:

*Maintain a regular sleep/wake cycle.

*Refrain from taking naps during the day.

*Make the bedroom an ideal place to sleep by keeping it dark, cool and comfortable. *Block out noise with earplugs or white noise. Do not use computer or other devices while lying in bed.

*Develop a nightly sleep ritual, doing the same things every night to give your body clues it’s time for bed.

* Avoid or minimize caffeine, tea or soda after noon.

— More Content Now