Today, each household is unique, and brings its own set of mealtime challenges. From couples with little ones experimenting with new foods to multiple generations living under one roof, we learn to navigate different needs and preferences to make mealtime successful. In celebration of National Family Meals Month™, some of our team at Campbell shares their tips for bringing the family together at the table.
Plan, Prep Ahead & Freeze
“Every week, I plan out my dinners and shop accordingly. This way, I typically only need to make one trip to the store each week.” —Kate Williams, Nutrition Contractor
“My grandparents are 90 and 93 and are not able to leave their home during this time. I still share meals with them. Every Friday, I cook them “meals on wheels” and deliver it. I have mastered recipes that are reheat friendly and I use aluminum pans to pack up the meals. My grandma can reheat the meals right in the pan and then recycle them. No clean up! I even write the reheat instructions right on the lid so there’s no confusion. My grandfather used to work for Campbell back in the day unloading the tomato trucks. He is so proud that I work here now!” —Elizabeth Sherman, Sr. Research Scientist
“My family preps and cooks on the weekends which makes for quicker weekday meals. This also allows for us to prep and portion a couple of meals for my 94-year-old father-in-law to take with him when he comes for Sunday dinner.”—Carol Price, Administrative Assistant, R&D
“We use our freezer, not just for prepackaged frozen foods. It’s great for storing breakfast options for the kids to grab as a quick reheat option when it’s early and they’re hungry. One of my favorite things to stash in the freezer are homemade whole wheat muffins!”—Katie Peysakhov, Sr. Research Scientist
“Lately, I’ve been batch grilling chicken, shrimp, and veggies in addition to cooking a batch of grains (barley, quinoa, farro, pasta). This way, we have healthy options on hand to quickly throw together a bowl, burrito, or salad.” —Chef Maria Gamble, Director Culinary & Innovation Hub, Campbell’s Culinary Institute
“In the fall and winter my husband will make a huge pot of homemade soup almost every other Sunday, always using Swanson® lower-sodium chicken broth or stock as a base. The large pot is enough for Sunday dinner and two weeknights for all four of us! We have learned to cook pasta or rice separately and refrigerate. Then when you heat the soup, add the starchy ingredients so they don’t get soggy.” —Carol Price, Administrative Assistant, R&D
Managing Different Diets
“My family of five has different taste preferences, so I save add-ins like onions, peppers, crumbled blue cheese or hot sauce as final ingredients in a dish to provide for a no-frills option for my less-adventurous eater. This allows for personalization—without preparing two or three separate dishes!” —Kate Williams, Nutrition Contractor
“When the kids want one thing, and we want another, we have to compromise. I elevate a basic pasta and sauce dish for my husband and me by adding Prego Farmers’ Market® Classic Marinara, zucchini noodles, sautéed mushrooms and spinach and topping it with Parmesan cheese. The kids are happy with the simplicity of the dish and we get to enjoy more flavor and texture by adding different ingredients.” —Izabela Lambert, Innovation Product Development
“My 14-year-old daughter became a vegetarian this past year, so I incorporate more legumes/veggies into our meals. She has also taken ownership of making many of her meals. It gets her more familiar in the kitchen and gives her a place to experiment.” —Chef Maria Gamble, Director Culinary & Innovation Hub, Campbell’s Culinary Institute
“I found an easy recipe for Chickpea Kale Soup. However, the original recipe calls for chicken broth and we are vegetarian. I experimented and tried the soup with a tomato base. When I used half a jar of my favorite marinara sauce, the taste was elevated, more complex, cravable and yummy!” —Izabela Lambert, Innovation Product Development
“Feeding my family nutritious meals is my responsibility and preparing some traditional family recipes has been helpful. I use a tagine that behaves like a slow cooker. I add all my ingredients, lower the heat and let it cook. If I start the process during lunch break, it will be ready by dinnertime. The beauty of this dish is that I can season the protein and onions in one vessel and then simply steam the veggies in another to make my meals exciting for us while introducing a variety of veggies to our baby.” —Bouchra Nafi-Krause, Scientist, Product Development
Change Up Your Menu
“We keep a running document with links to our favorite recipes as a family. This way, I know what we both love and have done it for so long that I have plenty of variety to choose from when I do not feel like trying out a new dish. I also have a group of close girlfriends and we all share what we’re making for dinner every week. They are a good source of inspiration to help mix up our meal plan.” —Lindsay Watts, Sr. Nutrition Communications Specialist
“My family browses recipes together online or in magazines to see what looks good to us and we read reviews. This makes us all involved and invested in the meal planning process.” —Kate Williams, Nutrition Contractor
“Sometimes it feels like we are eating the same dinners. So, we will occasionally have breakfast for dinner—veggie omelets or pancakes with fresh blueberries are our favorites!” —Carol Price, Administrative Assistant, R&D
“We grill fish like salmon or tilapia and veggies in foil packs. This allows for family members to personalize their pack with seasoning, the house stays cool and no clean up at all, just throw out the packets when done!” —Lisa Tretter, Sr. Program Manager, Beverage & Baby
We hope that our tips help you and your family gather at the table to share a meal more often. It’s amazing how a little prep, teamwork and creativity can make mealtime success a reality.
Cheers,Campbell R&D team members
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