A New Spin On A Family Dinner Favorite
O ne of my favorite childhood memories are family dinners. Both of my parents worked, so dinnertime was truly a team effort. My younger brother and I would pitch in to help my mom cook and set the table, and when my dad got home from work, we would all sit down together and enjoy good food, rich conversation, and plenty of laughter. One of our favorite go-to recipes was spaghetti; because it was so easy and very kid-friendly. I was much more motivated to help in the kitchen when I knew spaghetti was on the way!
If spaghetti is one of your kids’ favorites, consider putting a new spin on it by trying spaghetti squash instead of traditional noodles. This can be a great way to introduce a new vegetable in a way that is familiar and positive.
Not very fancy on the outside
The highlighted recipe features a type of winter squash called spaghetti squash. A single cup of spaghetti squash contains only about 40 calories compared to 220 calories for regular spaghetti noodles. Spaghetti squash also provides more calcium, potassium and vitamin B6 than spaghetti noodles. This added boost of nutrition targets our muscles, bones, and brain cells.
Spaghetti squash is fun to cook with too! Once it comes out of the oven, the kids will love scraping out the “veggie style noodles” for their spaghetti. They can also help prepare the sauce and set the table. But, even when dinner is ready and the table is set, family time is still only beginning!
Fun on the inside
Food is a powerful thing. Good food – food that is both healthy and delicious – is the perfect invitation to the dinner table. Family dinnertime, just like cooking, is also the perfect opportunity to learn together about seasonal produce (like squash), cooking techniques, and nutritional benefits of various foods and recipes – and it’s also a great time to grow closer through shared experiences and get involved in each others’ lives. So grab the kids, preheat the oven, and get ready to bake up a delicious meal! Great food – and great conversation – await you at your kitchen table!
Nancy Childers is a 2015-2016 Dietetic Intern at the Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt. She is originally from Knoxville, TN, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition at the University of Tennessee. She then relocated to Nashville and received her master’s degree in Exercise & Nutrition Science at Lipscomb University. She is passionate about her friends and family, Tennessee football, and helping individuals work through roadblocks to find health through nutrition and exercise.