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How to Do More with Dinner: An Interview with Melissa Joy Dobbins

Registered dietitian and creator of the Sound Bites podcast, Melissa Joy Dobbins joins Nutrition Diva to discuss strategies for connecting with your family while improving your nutrition, saving money, and time. It's not about doing more, it's about getting more.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
Episode #516
Melissa Joy Dobbins

This week, I’m talking with Melissa Joy Dobbins, a registered dietitian/nutritionist who served for many years as a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She’s also the creator and host of a terrific podcast called Sound Bites

One of the things that Melissa and I have in common is an allergy to misleading or just plain inaccurate information about food and nutrition that circulates so freely these days.

See also: How Fake Nutrition News Hurts Us All and Reliable Sources of Nutritional Information

In her Sound Bites podcast, she brings experts in to dispel misunderstandings and myths and give listeners a more nuanced understanding of the science. She'seven created a series of resources to help other nutrition professionals communicate more clearly and effectively in the media.

In this week's podcast, I talk with Melissa about her Do M.O.R.E. with Dinner project. But this isn't really about doing more.  Most of us already feel like we couldn’t do one more thing. It’s about getting more from this daily necessity.  M.O.R.E. stands for Make Ordinary Rituals Extraordinary.

In our interview (which you can hear by clicking the audio player above), Melissa shares the personal goal that inspired this project.

The Toolkit includes links to a lot of great resources created by dietitian/nutritionists and others: recipes, meal prep and planning tools, kitchen organization tips, information on children’s nutrition, even a guide to starting your own garden.

See also: Best Meal Planning Apps

Dedicating some time to meal planning and preparation can definitely upgrade your family’s nutrition (not to mention save money and decrease food waste). But this isn’t just about nutrition. It’s also an opportunity to become closer as a family. In our conversation, Melissa talks about the practice that dramatically changed her family's dinner routine, and her relationship with her kids. 

We're told that families need to sit down together most evenings and eat a family meal. But many families today struggle to make this happen and there's often some guilt about it—which is never productive. I often talk about the benefits of a “good enough” diet. Melissa talks about the “good enough” version of family dinners. Hint: it's not about cooking a different gourmet meal every night. It might not even involve cooking. (Or dinner.)

We hear a lot about the benefits that kids reap of family dinners: Kids who regularly eat dinner as a family do better in school, have lower rates of eating disorders and obesity, and lower risk of depression and substance abuse. Melissa also shares what adults (and childless households) can gain from doing M.O.R.E. with dinner. 

Personally, I find that setting aside even a few minutes to enjoy dinner (which might be leftovers!) in a more conscious and deliberate way leaves me feeling more satisfied and less likely to be raiding the cupboards later for a snack.

You'll find Melissa's Do M.O.R.E. with Dinner Toolkit here. And if you enjoy the Nutrition Diva podcast, be sure to check out the Sound Bites podcast. (In fact, in this week’s episode of Sound Bites, I am joining Melissa to talk more about the value of a good enough diet as well as how you can chart a sane source through the wilderness of nutrition news and nonsense that we’re exposed to every day.)

Do you have a question or topic you’d like to suggest for a future episode or maybe a comment on a previous show? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. I’d love to hear from you!

If you want to eat healthier but feel like you don’t know where to start, why not join us for the next 30 Day Nutrition Upgrade, which starts in just a few days. I’ll show you a simple approach that can help you improve your eating habits without going to extremes. Details are at nutritionovereasy.com/upgrade.

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