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Eat together, eat healthier

family in kitchen
Did you know August is Family Meals Month? Family mealtime is a time when all members of the family can sit down together and enjoy each other’s company over a delicious meal.
With our busy schedules, it might not always be possible to sit down for a longer meal each night of the week. Some nights it might just be a shorter meal before or after your child’s basketball or soccer game or a quick meal after a busy school night event. If each night doesn’t work, try for most nights of the week, or maybe on some days breakfast time works better instead.
Family mealtime can help the whole family eat healthier and even help your children do better in school. The University of Nebraska has a great resource about the Importance of Family Mealtime. Take a moment to look it over or better yet, print it out and post it on the fridge for all members of your family to read.
This month please join us as we discuss ways we can have more meals together. We’ll share with you some quick weeknight recipes and breakfast recipes. Let us know what else you would like to know. Or if you have tips to share with us about what works for your family mealtimes, please share those too!

Cool, delicious watermelon recipes

Watermelon Kebabs
An easy, fast, no-mess meal!


  • 18 1 inch cubes of seedless watermelon
  • 6 cubes of smoked turkey breast
  • 6 cubes of cheddar cheese
  • 6 coffee stirrers or beverage straws

Cut watermelon, turkey and cheese in cubes and skewer on stirrers or straws.

Servings:  Serves 6.
 Watermelon Banana Split
A healthy twist to an old favorite

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 watermelon medium sized
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup caramel fruit dip
  • 1/4 cup honey roasted almonds

Peel bananas and cut in half lengthwise then cut each piece in half. For each serving, lay 2 banana pieces against sides of shallow dish. Using an ice cream scooper, place three watermelon “scoops” in between each banana in each dish. Remove seeds if necessary. Top each watermelon “scoop” with a different fruit topping. Drizzle caramel fruit dip over all. Sprinkle with almonds.

Servings:  Makes 4 servings.
Chicken Salad with Watermelon and Peaches

  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill leaf or
  • 1 tablespoon fresh snipped juice from a lemon
  • dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 peaches seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped seeded watermelon

Mix together the chicken, yogurt, mayonnaise, dill and lemon juice.
Servings:  Makes 4 to 6 Servings.

Kid’s Watermelon Strawberry Shake and Frozen Smoothie Pops
Easy to find and now affordable home ice cream machines and popsicle sleeves make for a great dessert. Check out your Costco and Target stores for some good finds.
Strawberry Shake

  • 1 container (8 ounces) lemon nonfat yogurt
  • 2 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 1 banana medium, peeled and sliced

Frozen Smoothie Pops

  • Strawberry Shake
  • Small paper cups
  • Popsicle sticks

Strawberry Shake
In blender or food processor, process yogurt, watermelon, strawberries and banana until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately.
Frozen Smoothie Pops
Pour prepared Watermelon Strawberry Shake into small paper cups. Freeze, inserting popsicle sticks or plastic spoons when mixture is partially frozen. Or, pour Watermelon Strawberry Shake into ice cream machine. Set and enjoy!
Servings:  Makes 4.

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Add a healthier crust to your pizza

Most of us already know what toppings to add to a pizza to make it healthier, but have you ever thought about the crust. To make healthier pizza crusts, try:

  • Whole-wheat flour. Forgo the traditional white-flour crust and make your whole wheat flour for some extra protein and a yummy, nutty flavor.
  • Thin sandwich bread. Take your favorite deli flat and swap the cold-cuts for your sauce and toppings of choice. (Just give the bread a little toast before topping to avoid any sogginess.)
  • Tortillas. Rice and beans aren’t the only ingredients that can top a tortilla. Make your own whole-wheat tortilla for a perfect thin-crust alternative.
  • Pita bread. Pita pockets are the perfect size for a personal pizza, and the whole wheat variety adds an extra nutritional kick.
  • English muffins. With all the nooks and crannies, an English muffin pizza crust can do no wrong. They toast up perfectly in the oven and are great for making mini-pizzas for a light lunch. (Or as a late night snack!)

English muffin pizza

Grandparents as role models for physical activity

grandfather with childgrandmother with child making snacks in the kitchen
I am having to face facts, whether I like it or not, I am getting older and I need to add a fresh dimension to my exercise routine. I know you don’t have to join a gym, train for a 5K, or buy expensive gear, but I have found a great way to motivate yourself is to team up with a fitness buddy. I cannot think of a better buddy than my granddaughter!
We all know that children learn from role models. “Grandparents are in a perfect position to [be that] role model” by stressing the importance of living an active lifestyle.
I say if the older generation takes the younger generation by the hand and engages them in little bits of activity together, they are doing an extraordinary service to the health and well-being of their grandchildren.
Playing tag, jumping rope, playing Simon Says or biking to a destination instead of driving, or playing Wii instead of watching TV encourages kids to be active. Next time you are with your grandchildren, use playtime as a way to get the heart pumping.
Be goofy and encourage movement. Before you know it, your grandchildren will have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re exercising.
Try playing these games with the kids. Besides getting a workout, you’ll all get a wealth of laughs.

Come join me and move more!

family outside

Being physically active has long-term results.  What you do right now does have an effect on your future.  Including time in your life for physical activity is not just something to do when you want to lose weight.  There are so many other wonderful benefits.  I found that when I started making time for some physical activity, that I experienced several benefits.  I immediately began sleeping better at night and getting back down to a healthier weight.  My clothes began to fit more loosely, and I could see that I was building some muscle too.  I encouraged some neighbors to walk with me, and I am meeting new people and actually having fun too!
Choose activities that you not only enjoy but feel you can do on a regular basis.  Try to have 10 minutes of activity at a time.  Shorter periods will not have the same health benefits. Here’s a website with some great tips on how you can increase physical activity for your and your family:


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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

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