Did you know that kids who eat dinner regularly with their families tend to be healthier physically and emotionally, do better in school, and are less likely to get involved in risky behaviors like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes? If such a simple, healthy and achievable act can have such a profound impact on our kids, it’s worth making it a priority in our hectic lives.
Ten years ago I launched The Six O’Clock Scramble to help families get healthier, homemade dinners on the table with a lot less stress and expense so they could bring joy and good nutrition back to the dinner table. The idea has caught on, with tens of thousands of families using The Scramble to plan and cook meals, but it’s still not nearly enough.
That’s why I am excited and hopeful as we launch one of the biggest initiatives we’ve ever attempted which we’re calling the Family Dinner Challenge.
In honor of The Six O’Clock Scramble’s 10th anniversary this year, my ambitious goal is to get 10,000 families to commit to eating dinner together at least 3 times a week for 4 weeks between now and September. We’re going to give everyone who takes the challenge all the tools they need, including weekly menus, recipes and grocery lists, a chart to keep track of their dinners eaten together, conversation starters, and other helpful materials to make the challenge a success for their families. Our hope is that they are so inspired by the positive changes that take place in their homes during the challenge that they will continue making family dinners a priority in their busy lives.
I am hoping that you will take the challenge yourself and help me spread the word to your community about the Family Dinner Challenge via Facebook or other means (on the Family Dinner Challenge page there is a button you can post on Facebook encouraging others to take it, too). I would so appreciate your support.
Please let me know if you have other ideas that will help me reach our goal of 10,000 families agreeing to make family dinners a priority between now and the end of September. It’s not the solution to everything that ails us, but I think it’s a great place to start.
And speaking of a great place to start, your family will be glad to come to the table for this crowd-pleasing, summery and nutritious ravioli with fresh herb and walnut pesto, first suggested to me by my friend Robyn Muncy.
Recipe: Ravioli with Parsley Pesto
Use parsley and walnuts for a fresh healthy twist on traditional pesto.
- 20 oz. reduced-fat cheese ravioli
- 1 3/4 cups flat-leaf Italian parsley, tightly packed
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, tightly packed + a handful of sliced basil for serving
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
Cook the ravioli according to package directions and drain it.
Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, coarsely chop the parsley, 1/4 cup basil, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Then, slowly add the oil and continue to process the pesto until it is well combined.
In a serving bowl, gently toss the warm ravioli with one cup of the pesto, reserving the remaining pesto for future use. Top the ravioli with the tomatoes and a handful of fresh basil. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.