Healthy Eating: Family Meals
Common sense knows that meals prepared and consumed at home can be more nutritious than meals consumed at restaurants. The reality is that not every family has time to eat together at home every night during the week. The Family Meals Matter column was designed to help families mix and match recipes with their busy lifestyles make eating at home easier, even for just a few nights per week. 

Celebrate the simplicity of a balanced family meal with all five food groups by sitting down to Creamy Asparagus Pasta and Tuna Melts with Caramelized Spiced PearsAs your schedule allows this week, plan on additional dinners featuring Mini Chile Relleno CasserolesItalian Beef and Cheese CalzonesInside Out Lasagna and Peaches and Cream Pops.

“Family Meals Matter” features registered dietitian–approved recipes with foods from all the food groups to reflect Dairy Council of California’s nutrition philosophy to elevate the health of children and parents. For more information, nutrition tools and additional family meal recipes, please visit our website, HealthyEating.orgHealthy Eating Made Easier™

Creamy Asparagus Pasta, EatingWell. Photo by Ken Burris.


(Includes ingredients to make at least four servings of each Featured Family Meal recipe)


8 ounces whole-wheat Penne pasta 
1 bunch Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 1/2 cups whole Milk 
4 teaspoons whole-grain Mustard 
4 teaspoons Flour 
1/2 teaspoon Salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper 
2 teaspoons extra-virgin Olive oil 
3 tablespoons minced Garlic 
2 teaspoons minced fresh Tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried 
1 teaspoon freshly grated Lemon zest 
2 teaspoons Lemon juice 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


12 ounces canned chunk light Tuna, drained (see Note) 
1 medium Shallot, minced (2 tablespoons) 
2 tablespoons low-fat Mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon Lemon juice 
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf Parsley 
1/8 teaspoon Salt 
Dash of hot Sauce 
Freshly ground Pepper to taste 
4 slices whole-wheat Bread, toasted 
2 Tomatoes, sliced 
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


3 ripe but firm Pears (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted Butter
3 tablespoons granulated or light brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
Pinch of Salt

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