Despite busy lives and full schedules, finding time for regular meals with loved ones encourages connections and conversations that can benefit mental and physical well-being. Gathering your family, friends, coworkers or neighbors at least once a week to spend time together over a meal provides opportunities to decompress and socialize.
If you’re looking for a little delicious inspiration, the American Heart Association recommends scheduling one night per week to create a recurring tradition and enjoy favorites such as breakfast for dinner. Recipes like Egg, Avocado and Black Bean Breakfast Burritos and Southwestern Quinoa and Egg Breakfast Bowls from the Healthy for Good Eat Smart initiative, nationally supported by Eggland’s Best, are perfectly suited for sharing while making time to destress at the dinner table.
In fact, according to a study by “Canadian Family Physician,” regular meals at home with loved ones can reduce stress, boost self-esteem and make everyone feel connected with mealtime conversations that allow a chance to unplug and unwind.
Meals don’t have to be elaborate for a successful evening together. Despite the perceived effort involved with preparing a meal, research published in “Preventive Medicine” shows those who have frequent meals with others, particularly parents with their children, may improve social and emotional well-being.
In addition to the mental and emotional benefits of meals with loved ones, eating together can also encourage healthier choices when better-for-you recipes are on the menu. Dining as a group can provide inspiration to try heart-healthy recipes that include the wide variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and healthy protein sources recommended by the American Heart Association to help prevent heart disease and stroke.
Egg, Avocado and Black Bean Breakfast Burritos
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/3 cups liquid egg whites
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
4 whole-wheat tortillas (6 inches, lowest sodium available)
2 medium avocados, sliced
1/4 cup hot sauce or salsa (lowest sodium available, optional)
Lightly spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.
In skillet, stir egg whites constantly with rubber spatula to scramble. Cook until eggs are almost set. Add beans, stirring until combined and heated through.
Microwave tortillas on high 45 seconds. Transfer to work surface.
Spread egg mixture in center of each tortilla. Top with the avocado and hot sauce, if desired.
For each burrito, fold two sides of tortilla toward center. Starting from closest unfolded side, roll burrito toward remaining unfolded side to enclose filling. Transfer with seam side down to plates.
Southwestern Quinoa and Egg Breakfast Bowls
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup no-salt-added frozen corn, thawed
1/2 medium avocado, pitted and diced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
nonstick cooking spray
4 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
red hot-pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat.
Spoon quinoa into four bowls. Top each with tomatoes, corn, avocado, green onions and cilantro, if desired.
Lightly spray large skillet over medium-high heat with nonstick cooking spray. Crack eggs into skillet. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, 3-4 minutes, or until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny. Using spatula, carefully transfer one egg sunny side up into each bowl. Sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired.