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How smartphones can help with good nutrition

November 8, 2017
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The Family Dinner Project has confirmed what parents have known for a long time: sharing a meal together is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all family members. In honor of November’s Good Nutrition Month, U.S. Cellular encourages smartphone owners to “unplug” during family time and enjoy a simple, healthy meal together.

In a recent survey by U.S. Cellular, 46 percent of respondents use their devices, such as the iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S8, to monitor their health. Smartphone users can take advantage of apps to help manage family meals or to aid in lifestyle or dietary preferences such as vegetarian, Paleo or gluten free diets. However, there are some times – such as mealtimes – when mobile devices are better kept in pockets, purses or drawers, and the focus should be on the conversation around the table instead. 

With today’s busy lifestyles and when the time is right, U.S. Cellular's high-speed network with national coverage allows mobile users to stay connected and use apps to plan healthy family meals. Just as important is remembering to “unplug” and enjoy those special moments together.

U.S. Cellular recommends some must-have apps and tips to increase quality time with loved ones and find healthy meals to enjoy together:

Limit device usage. Apps like Offtime and BreakFree track connectivity and limit device usage, reminding smartphone owners to unplug at certain times, which helps them digitally detox and enjoy family (or alone) time without distractions. U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child Agreement offers an easy way for parents to talk to their kids about appropriate phone usage; it is available for download at www.childphoneagreement.com. Similarly, ParentKit allows parents to digitally set limits regarding when their children can use their devices as well as which age-appropriate games, sites and apps the kids can access. Limiting smartphone usage at specific times – such as meals – allows families to maintain a healthy digital lifestyle so they can spend time together without interruption.

Find healthy recipes. Smartphones and tablets are a great resource to tap into healthy recipe apps and interactive how-to cooking videos to plan and prepare delicious family meals. Apps like AllRecipes, Dinner Spinner and Yummly allow users to search recipes by keywords, dietary restrictions, cook/prep time and ingredients to include or exclude. These apps also have options to save and organize favorite recipes, add necessary ingredients to an online grocery list and receive customized recipe recommendations based on food preferences and restrictions.

Make quality time more efficient. Often, one’s time with family is spent cooking, cleaning and doing errands. Smartphones can make life easier – and family mealtimes less stressful – by ordering meal delivery through GrubHub, or the UberEats app, or making dinner reservations using OpenTable.

Power off. A great and simple solution to unplugging with the family – simply power off all devices for a set amount of time. Family members won’t be as tempted to check a text, reply to an e-mail or read social media statuses if they don’t hear the “ping” of incoming messages. Put all phones and tablets away for mealtimes and during other quality times together – whether it’s family game night, a walk around the neighborhood or a movie snuggled on the couch. While it’s great to stay connected, it can be refreshing to disconnect for a bit as well.

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