Back to School with Family Meal Time

Back to School with Family Meal Time

Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

It’s September, and that means school’s in for teachers, kids and parents who will be helping with homework and activities.  While schedules are more hectic than ever, making time for family meals will have profound benefits on your family. 

  • A Harvard study found that eating family dinners together most or all days of the week was associated with eating more healthfully!
  • Families generally consumed higher amounts of important nutrients such as calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins B12 and C… and consumed less overall fat, compared to families who “never” or “only sometimes” eat meals together.
  • Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity.

Make Meals Happen…

  • Small children can help out by washing fruits and veggies during preparation.
  • Older children can help with prepping meals, setting the table and helping with the dishes.
  • When you have time, prepare staples (think rice, quinoa) and refrigerate or freeze to throw into soups/casseroles/side dishes later in the week.
  • Roasting a whole chicken is a great way to incorporate a variety of healthful ingredients into a one-pan meal.

Chicken and Asparagus Sheet Pan Dinner

Chicken & Asparagus Sheet Pan Dinner

Prep: 15 minutes

Roast: 30 to 35 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


  • 1 Whole Perdue® Oven Stouffer Roaster (3.5 to 4.5 lbs)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
  • 5 lbs baby potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, separated
  • Kosher Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Start by cutting the whole chicken into parts (thighs, drumsticks, breast, wings). Remove skin and place chicken on a large baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Squeeze ½ lemon over chicken and place remaining lemon halves flesh side up, then Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season.
  3. In a small bowl combine spices (garlic powder, thyme, cumin, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper). Season chicken with this mixture.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots to sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt & pepper. Place sheet pan in oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove sheet pan from oven, place chicken over potatoes, leaving room for the asparagus spears. Place spears on pan, season with salt & pepper and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken reaches minimal internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA