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Eating Well at Home: Reconnect at Meal Time

May 1, 2020
Published in: COVID-19, Nutrition

Mother making cooking with teenage daughter and younger son

Augusta Health's Dietitians want to help you stay healthy and sane during this time. Here are some more tips and recipes from their "Making Meals Fun!" series.

Ask family members to contribute meal ideas and then to help with some part of the meal process: from setting the table to prepping the salad to cleaning up afterwards. During this strange time, take advantage of mealtime and reconnect with your family. Take a "media break"- turn off the TV and the smart devices and talk with each other! What can you talk about?? Try telling stories or jokes or chat about things you will do this summer!

With fewer activities to rush off to, use the time to experiment with recipes and make items "from scratch". For example, Kara Meeks, MS, RDN, DCES, made her own teriyaki sauce using a recipe she found on the internet. This allowed her to lower the sodium content by using a lower sodium soy sauce. She used the sauce to flavor baked chicken. Even her teenage son commented "this tastes a lot better than the usual stuff."

For more healthy ideas, contact Augusta Health Outpatient Nutrition Program at (540) 213-2537.

Skillet Taco Cauliflower Rice

This is a healthy recipe that Ashley Hartshorn, RD, enjoyed with her family. It's one for all of the "low carb" eaters out there!

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield:4 Servings


  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey (or 93% lean ground beef if that is what you have on hand)
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 oz canned tomato sauce, 1/2 can
  • 4 cups uncooked riced cauliflower (you can find this fresh or frozen in many grocery stores)
For the toppings:
  • 4 ounces avocado, 1 small
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce
  • 1/4 cup jarred salsa
  • lime wedges


  1. Over high heat, brown the turkey in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks, about 5 minutes.
  2. When no longer pink add 1 teaspoon salt and the dry seasoning and mix well.
  3. Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce and cover.
  4. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the cover and add the cauliflower, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a plate and serve with avocado, lettuce, salsa, and lime.


    Energy Bites

    Mary Beth Landes, MS, RD, CSO shares this idea to keep the kids busy while you are working from home. Have the kids prepare their own healthy snacks. This allows them to use some math and food science skills such as measuring ingredients. This "Energy Bites" is easy and tasty:


    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • ½ cup ground flax seed
    • ½ cup natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
    • 1/3 cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. Combine oats, chocolate chips, flax seed, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract together in a bowl; form into balls using your hands.
    2. Arrange energy bites on a baking sheet and freeze until set, about 1 hour.
    3. Remove from baking sheet; store in air tight container in the refrigerator.
    4. Serve!