Making meal prep a family affair is not only an important step toward raising kids who are comfortable in the kitchen, but it’s a great way to spend time together. At a moment that’s all about finding fun things to do at home, bring the family into the kitchen to create meals and delicious dishes you can all be proud of and excited to enjoy together.
If you’re the family meal planner in charge of the plan/shop/cook process for your household, you know that when the rest of the family is there to share in the task it’s a good thing. When it also helps bring the family together, it’s even better. From sharing who picks the meal, exploring the local market for the ingredients you need, and finally bringing it all together with one another in the kitchen, meal prepping can foster family time.
Let’s consider lunch packs, the packaged combinations of high-sodium lunch meat, cheese, and crackers that made an early debut as a ready-to-go school lunch option. Today there are many of these items on the market that are composed of lower sodium and more healthful options. That said, they still may not earn a Guiding Star. In this case, I believe there is another strategy we can use to decide if a packaged food is a good choice.
If your daily tasks include packing school lunch, you know it can get tiring to come up with ideas your kids will eat every day, while keeping it interesting, safe, and nutritious. Like any other meal you plan and prep for, school lunch must fit into a balanced day. There are a few common pitfalls many of us fall into when considering what our kids need packed in their lunch bag. Let’s avoid them together.
If there is a word that stirs emotion in agriculture, it’s “modified.” I try to avoid discussing plant modification unless there is plenty of time to explore the full definition and many angles from which to consider what it means. That said, it is fascinating to explore whether we can enhance the nutritional quality of some plants. Strategies to improve the nutritional status of our global population are always top of mind for me.
Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky to visit several small family farms. I’ve chatted with farmers, learned about their craft, and spent time sharing their passion. There is often a story that brings them to this challenging and highly rewarding work. There is a common theme that runs through them all, which is their devotion to their work, their deep love for their animals, their connection to their soil, and the pride they share in being able to nourish their community. I’ve always walked away from a farm tour with a sense of awe as to how they do it, and of course, a deep appreciation that they do.
There seems to be an ever-growing amount of content available online for our children. If you have internet-savvy kids, you know it’s super tough to keep up with. Has your child approached you in recent weeks asking if you have instant coffee that she can whip into the perfect beverage? If so, just know they are aware of many fun food hacks, ideas, and crafts available to them. My own daughter finds these things, but it’s not until the New York Times picks it up that I pay attention. I get it: the struggle is real here.
Our ability to transport foods across the country (and the world) is exceptional. As a result, we consumers have grown to expect produce year-round that was once only available seasonally, along with foods that cross cultures, and tremendous access to high quality, fresh foods. Today’s supermarkets are doing such a great job that it’s easy to forget just how much goes into ensuring those foods are on store shelves and filling fresh departments. However, the supply chain that brings food to shelves so that it can eventually make it to your home kitchen is a network of devoted people who are the lifeline of this country. Let’s take a moment to highlight everyone from the farm workers to grocery store stockers and the home cook too, who take on the challenge of maintaining a safe food supply and nourishing our homes and communities.