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Quick and easy meal ideas to bring your family together (and other benefits!)

From better test scores to mental health benefits, studies show eating together is worth a few minutes of preparation.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Did you know September is National Family Meals Month? It is! Studies show there are many benefits to enjoying meals as a family. Health and Wellness Specialist and Registered Dietitian Deanna Scheid joined 13 ON YOUR SIDE Mornings to share some quick and healthy meal ideas that are perfect for your busy family.

She shared this motivating information: "According to the American Heart Association, family meals are good for the heart: Studies prove that family meals improve nutrition and emotional wellbeing. They also prove that psychological health and heart health are related. So, as you can see, eating for mental health is good for the heart, figuratively and literally. In fact, the AHA has evidence that cardiovascular disease has been shown to have a negative effect on our mental health."

"Family meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members. For example: Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem. With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts. Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity."

"A recent and most comprehensive study to date in the journal of nutrition education and behavior found that the frequency of family meals improves healthy eating behaviors (increased fruits, veggies consumption and consumed less added sugar and processed foods and have overall better nutrition) and family functioning (connectedness, communication, expressiveness, problem solving)."

Deanna recruited Meredith TerHaar and Emily Scarlett to help her whip up three delicious recipes including a chicken ranch bagel sandwich, an apple, walnut, brussels sprout honey salad and one pot enchilada bowls.

Click here for those recipes.

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