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Yep, you can have it all: A homemade, healthy dinner on a crazy-busy night.

There are plenty of good reasons to make it happen. People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and eat fewer calories. Kids and teens who share meals with their family three or more times per week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders. Plus the children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect.

Personally, dinner is when we catch up to hash and rehash the day. These benefits confirm that setting the table and saying “please pass the pork chops” is worth the effort.

In the spirit of bringing families to the table, blueberry pork chops are ready in about 30 minutes, leaving time for the other things that compete for our time.

Pork’s mild flavor partners well with fruit. In this recipe, blueberries bring sweet deliciousness and beautiful color plus boost the antioxidants and fiber. Lemon, rosemary, mustard and horseradish give the sauce a spicy, savory edge. To round out the meal, toss small potatoes and broccoli in a couple teaspoons of olive oil, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cut the vegetables to similar size to keep cooking times the same and roast the vegetables while the pork chops are cooking. In about 30-minutes, dinner is served.

With pork, a 3-ounce portion (about the size of a deck of cards) is an excellent source of protein and several B vitamins. These energy-boosters help you manage your hectic nights and appealing, good-for-you foods make you feel even better.

At the butcher case, choose lean cuts of pork with the word “loin” in the name, such as top loin pork chop or tenderloin. For the most flavorful, tender and juicy pork, the National Pork Board recommends cooking pork chops, roasts and tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145°F for medium rare and 160°F for medium, followed with 3 minutes rest before eating. Ground pork should be cooked to 160°F. To take the temperature of a pork chop, use tongs or a fork to lift the chop, insert an instant-read thermometer into the side of the pork chop, at least 3 inches. Hold for 15 seconds to get an accurate temperature.

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Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.”

Visit her website for every day food solutions.


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