Things Steam Up At The Dinner Table:family Meals Make A Comeback

In most American families, parents juggle work, school, children's sports and a bunch of other activities, often making family dinner an afterthought at best.

Studies show, however, that families that eat dinner together tend to do better. Here are a few facts and figures:

• Children who eat dinner with their family are more likely to eat healthier foods and more balanced meals.

• Teenagers who have five or more family dinners a week, compared to those who have two or less, are three times less likely to try marijuana, two and a half times less likely to smoke cigarettes, and one and a half times less likely to try alcohol.

• For 30 years, beginning in the '70s, families ate dinner together less each year. But, according to a Harvard study, the trend bottomed out in 2003, as families have rediscovered the benefits of eating dinner together.

Making a healthy, tasty, filling meal for your family can be more easily said than done. In the past, popping frozen ingredients in the microwave often meant soggy veggies, chewy meat and skimpy portions.

New microwave steaming technology is beginning to revolutionize the microwave meal. Companies such as Hibachi House use innovative steam packaging that essentially serves as a modern microwavable steam cooker, evenly heating the meal from the outside in and the inside out. The result is flavorful, properly cooked rice or noodles and meat, fish and vegetables that are firm and juicy.

These meals generally take only minutes to make and prevent mealtime from falling into a "Monday-is-mac-'n'-cheese-night" rut.

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell
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