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Get Back To The Table

Bring the Family Together for National Family Meals Month™

It’s time to gather around the table! Here at Libby’s, we believe in the power of family meals and know that the most memorable moments are those created around the dinner table when the whole clan can enjoy a wholesome, nutritious spread together. This is an important habit year-round, but especially during September. Why? It’s National Family Meals Month™! Libby’s is proud to celebrate this movement and encourages your family to get involved by Raising Your Mitt to Commit™ to one more meal together per week. To help make that happen, we’re highlighting simple, healthy meal solutions.

But first, a bit of science to back us up. Numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family, and recent research shows that home-cooked meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members. What’s more, regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes that we all want for our children: higher grades (hello straight A’s!) and self-esteem as well as healthier eating habits and less risky behavior.

The bad news? According to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night. Juggling jobs, kids and the demands of a busy, modern life often comes at the expense of quality family meals, but this doesn’t need to be the case. The Libby’s Digital Recipe Box has hundreds of delicious, easy and wholesome meal ideas that will get your family back to the table in no time. Here’s one menu idea that you can try out this week. 

Kick off your family meal with this Easy Three Bean Salad. Pair it with chips for a perfect scoop-able appetizer, or serve alongside your main course for a fiber-filled side dish. Want an entrée that’s not only easy, but fun for the whole family to make and eat together? These Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a great way to have an Asian-inspired night! Finally, who could forget dessert? Entice the kids to finish their dinners by serving up our Easy Peach Crisp.

As the new school year starts, we challenge you to renew your commitment to designated family meals that will nourish your kids—and the entire family. Pledge to Raise Your Mitt to Commit™ to sharing one more family meal at home per week. Follow us on Facebook @LibbysTable and Twitter @LibbysTable for family meal inspiration, including shopping tips and recipes. Share your own family meal experiences, misadventures and solutions within your social channels. And, remember, use the hashtag #familymealsmonth to be part of the conversation!

Back-to-School: Q&A with Iron Chef America Donatella Arpaia

It’s that time of year again: back to school. While this season is full of exciting transitions and new beginnings, it can also be a hectic, stressful period. As schedules fill up, certain priorities–like eating healthy and enjoying quality family meals together–can start to slip. That doesn’t need to be the case though, and here to help is Donatella Arpaia, a regular judge on The Food Network’s Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, a NYC restaurant owner and mother to a 4-year-old son. Donatella sat down with us recently to share her favorite tips and tricks for making the shift from summer to school as seamless, healthy and fun as possible. She also created two special kid-friendly recipes to help Libby’s fans kick off back-to-school season in a wholesome, delicious way!

The back-to-school transition can be bittersweet as we bid adieu to summertime fun while welcoming the excitement of the new school year. Do you have any tips for creating special traditions that celebrate this change of seasons?

During this hectic period, I think it’s crucial to create family traditions and not just back-to-school “to do” lists.  You can do this by scheduling a last “lazy day of summer” and plan the perfect day with your kids—whether it’s a day at the beach, a movie or a picnic—whatever it is, make it fun and leave all phones at home.

Also, for most families, food is an important part of making traditions. Create culinary memories together by baking a snack with your kids to go in their lunchboxes the first week of school. Celebrate the first day of class with an extra special breakfast and dinner.

With packed schedules, added extra-curricular and crazed morning routines, the start of a new school year can be an especially hectic time for families. What tips do you have to ensure that healthy eating doesn’t fall by the wayside?

It helps to plan meals ahead of time as much as possible. I like to create a menu for the week so I can see if it’s balanced. (For example, you don’t want to serve red meat everyday!). Advance preparation leads to better choices for your family, and I like to prepare recipes the night before that actually taste better the next day like my Quinoa Salad with Corn and Peas

Quinoa Salad with Corn and Peas

Healthy after-school snacking is an essential antidote to pre-dinner crankiness. Any favorite snack recipes?

Fruit and cheese is a perfect and easy afternoon snack because it doesn’t fill kids up too much before dinner, but sustains and satisfies. I like to combine Libby’s Pear Slices with a few cubes of cheese.

If we’re being honest, packed school lunches often times feel “blah.” What do you do to keep things healthy, yet creative?

Step 1: Get out of the boring sandwich rut! Buy fun, bento-style containers and create yummy recipes incorporating veggies that your kids will love, like my Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Green Beans. It’s flavorful and healthy, and you can top it with grilled chicken for extra protein.

Sesame Soba Noodle and Green Bean Salad

Incorporating kids into the kitchen routine can be a great way to spark culinary curiosity and encourage healthy eating from a young age. What tips do you have for bringing young ones on board? 

Make your kids feel important by giving them their own work station! Set up a small cutting board and bowl and give them their own tools to cook, mix and bake with. Be sure to do this when you’re not rushing and don’t criticize them or micromanage. It’s important to let them have fun while you do the actual cooking and teach them along the way. I bought my son his own apron and we made a paper chef hat – he felt very proud!

What advice do you have for parents of picky eaters who worry about their kids eating enough fruits and veggies? 

I have a picky eater! If it was up to my son, his diet would consist of chocolate, pancakes and ice cream. When it comes to picky eaters, it’s important to be consistent and don’t let them wear you down. Every day, encourage them to eat something new. Find fruits and veggies that they like and build on that. Incorporate new fruits and veggies into their favorite foods. Also, I know some say not to “reward with food,” but it works for me. I tell my son that if he eats his fruits and veggies or tries something new, he can have a small sweet reward! Find what works and don’t feel guilty about it.

Sending youngsters off to school with a nutritious breakfast is crucial, but this is often easier said than done. Any tips for making sure a healthy meal first thing actually happens?

Although I pack my son a healthy lunch, I can’t ensure that he’s actually eating it, but I DO have control over breakfast and dinner. Parents often think that veggies can’t be incorporated into breakfast so they miss this “veggie” opportunity. It is so important to make sure kids get a protein in the morning. I like to sneak peas into scrambled eggs and then add some cheesy goodness so that my son doesn’t even realize he is eating veggies for breakfast! Try this with your kids using my recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Peppers & Peas. It features Libby’s Vegetable Cups,which I’m a huge fan of because they’re a fast, convenient and easy way to provide a healthy portion of veggies any time of day, but especially in the morning.

Scrambled Eggs with Peppers & Peas

I recommend starting the transition to a healthier breakfast before the school year begins. Have your little ones help you prepare breakfast and make them part of the process. This way, they’ll be more likely to try your food, and by the time school starts, they’ll be used to seeing green in their eggs!

A “Toast" to Summer: Spreadable Snacks & Dips

School’s out, the kids are home and the weather is heating up – all signs that summer is here! And that doesn’t just mean it’s time to get out the beach toys and roller blades. It’s also time to try some new summer recipe! Dips and spreads are perfect when the temperatures start to rise. Whether you’re throwing a backyard barbeque with your family and friends or whipping up yummy snacks for the kids, these are a few dishes that everyone can enjoy this summer.     

Layer on the Fun 

Take a lesson from Iron Chef Donatella Arpaia and combine your favorite veggies into one delicious dip. This summer get colorful with her recipe for Seven Layer Dip. With seven full-flavored layers, your friends and family will be raving about every bite. From the Libby’s Whole Kernel Sweet Corn® to the Cut Green Beans®, this dip is packed with mouthwatering flavors and nutrients. Enjoy this at your next party with tortilla chips or veggies!

 Turn Up the Heat 

Spice things up with this Smoky Skillet Hot Corn Dip, perfect for topping on crackers, bread or endive. This flavorful dip satisfies taste buds with the combination of cheeses paired with hot jalapenos and Libby’s Whole Kernel Sweet Corn®.

Switch It Up


Step out of your mayo and mustard comfort zone and mix it up with unique sandwich toppers, like Smoky Carrot Hummus Sandwich Spread.  Incorporating veggies into lunchtime favorites is a simple and tasty way to ensure your family is getting the nutrients they need in the most satisfying way possible! If you’re looking for something lighter, layer it on toast or crackers – making the spread the star of your meal.

Bid Hunger Adieu: Three Stay-Full Snacks

When was the last time you were “hangry”? A combination of hungry and angry, the term describes that unfortunate phenomenon when you’re extra cranky because it’s been too long since you’ve last chowed. Being hangry often sneaks up on us, striking when we’re too busy and stressed to realize what’s happening and usually during that lengthy lunch-to-dinner stretch. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: fiber. This dietary substance is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and eating more of it can help keep you feel fuller—and fuss-free—for longer. Try out the below fiber-filled snack recipes and kick your hangry self to the curb.

Dipping delight


This Seven Layer Dip combines three fiercely fiber-packed ingredients: Libby’s® Whole Kernel Sweet Corn, Libby’s® Cut Green Beans and black beans. Pair it with your favorite whole grain chips, crackers or flatbread for a delicious and satiating snack.

Packing heat


These Spiced & Stuffed Samosa “Baked” Potatoes are as flavorful as they are filling. Libby’s® Sweet Corn, Libby’s® Cut Green Beans and Libby’s® Sweet Peas bring the fiber, and smoked paprika and curry powder bring the heat.

Colorful crunch 


Transform stale bread into mouth-watering magic with this recipe for Sweet Corn & Tomato Pesto Bruschetta. Roma tomatoes, Libby’s® Whole Kernel Sweet Corn and fresh pesto make a vibrant and energy-boosting topping to whole wheat toast.  

5 Realistic Resolutions for a Healthy New Year, New You

It’s a story we all know too well. New Year’s rolls around and, feeling the effects of holiday overindulgence and inspired by the promise of a fresh start, we rattle off a handful of “get healthy” resolutions for the upcoming year. This year, l’ll stay away from sweets—period. I’ll stop snacking between meals. I’ll finally run that marathon, no excuses.

The problem is, while these “New Year, New Me” goals are undoubtedly admirable, they’re often unrealistic. We start off full steam ahead in January, but start feeling burnt by the time February rolls around, and by March, we’re back to our old, unhealthy habits.

The key to long-term success is setting obtainable, sustainable goals that easily fit into your current routine. Here are Libby’s wholesome eating tips and recipe ideas that prove you don’t need to take extreme measures to lead a healthy lifestyle. All you need is an appetite!

1.       Control snacking with bite-sized portions


Nibbling between meals is not bad for you. In fact, it can help manage hunger and reduce over-eating at mealtime. The key is to consume satiating, good-for-you snacks in moderate portions. These Mini Cheese Quiches with Corn & Chives make the job easy: they’re filled with Libby’s® Whole Kernel Sweet Corn, packed with protein and sized appropriately. 

 2.       Rethink the role of veggies


Yes, you CAN have vegetables for breakfast, and yes you CAN enjoy it. Starting your morning with a wholesome meal sets the tone for a healthy day ahead. This recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Peppers & Peas delivers two servings of veggies (including Libby’s® Sweet Peas) and is packed with protein, which helps fight pre-lunch hunger. Repeat with us now: veggies are not just for dinner.

3.       Lighten up old favorites


Cleaning up your diet doesn’t mean you must bid adieu to beloved comfort foods. Small swaps — like subbing skim milk for whole or trading butter for Greek yogurt — can improve the nutrition profile of a dish without sacrificing flavor. This recipe for Turkey Bolognese with Peas and Carrots offers a nutritious take on a traditional sloppy joe. Lean turkey stands in for ground beef, and Libby’s® Sweet Peas and Libby’s® Diced Carrots add bonus nutrients.

4.       Dress up salads


Salads needn’t be your nemesis. Make your bowl of leafy greens more palatable by adding a tasty topping (think: dried or fresh fruits, nuts or seeds). Need inspiration? Try this simple recipe for Peas, Carrots & Candied Walnut Salad. Bibb lettuce and Libby’s® Peas & Carrots are jazzed up with a sprinkling of goat cheese and cinnamon-flavored nuts.

5.       Prioritize family mealtime


Taking the time to enjoy a homemade, sit-down meal with the whole clan — even if it’s just once a week — can improve everyone’s health. Since you’re in charge of the menu, it’s easier to keep calories, fat and sodium levels in check. Plus, the health benefits extend beyond nutrition: regular family dinners have been linked to better academic performance, higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression. Kick off your healthier lifestyle this year by getting your family back to the table. 

For more healthy mealtime inspiration, check out Libby’s Digital Recipe Box.

Beyond the Bird: Supreme Thanksgiving Sides

Let’s be honest: turkey isn’t the real star of Thanksgiving. Sure, the meat makes a pretty showpiece, but the true gems of the feast are those unexpectedly delightful side dishes. That salad with the uniquely zesty dressing. Those candied veggies that even the pickiest eater devours. The casserole you dream all year about. These are the eats that will have your guests talking long after the wishbone is snapped. Don’t have a knock-their-socks-off recipe? Don’t worry. Libby’s® is here to help.

Say Hello With Salad


“Salad” and “Thanksgiving” are rarely used in the same sentence, and that’s really a shame. Beginning the meal with a fresh concoction of greens–like this Peas, Carrots & Candied Walnut Salad—will thwart off the sluggish, over-stuffed feeling that usually follows the big feast. Do your guests a favor and serve this light and bright recipe featuring Libby’s® Peas & Carrots and a sweet-yet-tangy vinaigrette.

The Cornier, The Better  


There’s nothing wrong with being corny. In fact, this Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread proves that in the culinary world, cornier = better. This classic recipe, featuring both Libby’s® Whole Kernel Sweet Corn and corn meal, cooks in a cast iron skillet, which provides a uniquely crunchy and golden crust. Top it with a dollop of honey butter for pure perfection.

Bite Me, Please


What’s more fabulous than your favorite casserole? Your favorite casserole in bite-sized form, of course. These Green Bean Casserole Tartlets, made with Libby’s® Cut Green Beans, engage your fingers with fun and flavor.