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Family Meals Matter

For many parents, it would be much easier and simpler to forget about family dinners. Jobs, children, after-school activities all contribute to families being constantly on the go; thus feeling the need to eat on the run. But more and more parents are realizing the importance of shared family time at the dinner table. Often, this is the only time when all family members are all together in one place.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University says that the more often children eat dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use illicit drugs. The center compared teens who dined with families five or seven times a week with those who did so twice or less. Those who ate together more often were four times less likely to smoke, 2.5 times less likely to use marijuana, and half as likely to drink alcohol.

CASA reports that family dinners have a similar link to mental health. Adolescents and young adults who seek treatment for depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems are about half as likely as their peers to have regular family meals. Why? For one thing, mealtimes give children a chance to talk with parents about things that bother them. And the more we talk about our life issues, the less likely our issues will turn into mental health issues.

Children who dine with parents tend to eat better, too. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that children who join family dinners eat more fruit, vegetables, minerals, and vitamins. They also eat fewer saturated fats and snacks, and drink less soda making weight control easier. Unfortunately, despite the benefits to both body and soul, just 30% of families eat dinner together every night.

One way to reclaim your dinner time and limit the stress of planning, shopping, preparing, and cooking family meals is to purchase DIY meal kits or as I often call them, mail meals. To most people’s surprise, I dislike cooking. I know… I know… Dietitians are suppose to like cooking. Nah! That’s just a myth. I am human and struggling to keep up with life just like everyone else. However, I am a mom, and my kids would trade me in for another mom quickly if I suggest we consume smoothies, cold cereal, or peanut butter and jelly every night for dinner.

In the past, I wrote another blog comparing a few different mail meal companies. Check it out if you’re interested in learning about more mail meal companies. For the rest of this blog, I want to focus on a new mail meal company, Meez Meals, that has recently come to the Kentucky area.

Meez Meals caught my attention because they have a diverse menu, claim to be super fast, and ridiculously easy. Plus, the meals are made from-scratch, healthy, customizable, and typically ready in 25-40 minutes. The most unique thing is Meez does ALL the prep work and doesn’t have a mandatory subscription. They are also a YELP 5-star reviewed Chicago company.

So I decided to put my money where my mouth is…. I ordered four meals: Italian Chicken Sausage Pot Pie, Hawaiian Quesadillas, Mexican Chicken Paella, and Steak Bi Bim Bap. Depending on what you order the cost ranges $9-15 per serving, but the more servings you order for each recipe, the lower the price-per-serving. You can order as many servings of a recipe as you like which isn’t always the case with other mail meal companies.

When I received my order, I was very impressed. Everything was clearly labeled, prepped, and ready to cook, and I received easy step-by-step instructions to complete the meals. If you need more help, there is also a dinner hotline you can call for tips. Meez Meals seriously goes out of their way to ensure the most challenged cooks will find cooking easy.

Overall, the food was delicious and the serving sizes were quite impressive. We had leftovers from all the meals except the quesadillas, and the chicken pot pie was the best pot pie I have eaten in my entire life. Whether you’re looking for southern home cooking, authentic Mexican, fresh Italian, scrumptious seafood, or something else family friendly, give Meez Meals a chance. They will NOT disappoint, and you will find it possible to reclaim family meal time again.

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