September is Family Meals Month, the celebration of sitting down to eat with our (literally) nearest and (more or less) dearest. No one with more than one person in a household is a stranger to the challenge of coordinating schedules and making time to break bread together. This month in Kitchen Smarts, we’ll look at some of the techniques for producing a big family meal from a single pan.
Living in a home where our weekday evening “schedule scramble” means simple meals eaten on the fly and often not together, my family has grown to love a weekend morning meal or long lunch that lets us spend some time together. We’ve turned weekend breakfast and lunch into family time, which gives us all a moment to slow down…together.
What type of fish comes to mind when you think of school lunch? Is it breaded, deep-fried fish sticks served with a mayonnaise-based tartar sauce? Because that’s what I think of and it’s not exactly the most nutritious representation of fish. Thankfully, more skilled foodservice directors are finding new, creative ways to incorporate nutritious seafood options into their menus and budget. I discuss here why this is so important.
Calories, macros (macronutrients), daily weights, water intake…the amount of data one can track on dieting apps can really add up. For me, as a person who has made her living talking, writing, and teaching about nutrition and food intake, tracking my diet when MyFitnessPal and other similar apps were new was an interesting (even fun!) thing for me to do. It fit with my mindset about weight control (calories matter…and I still think they do). I wrote about macro tracking on this blog in 2017 if you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about. But, somewhere along the line, tracking my food intake and weight became less fun, much less fun. I also grew as a nutrition professional over time, and found that diet tracking didn’t suit me or fit my food and health philosophy anymore.
In a perfect world we’d all have a few hours a day to devote to nourishing ourselves well—growing and harvesting our own organic produce (if that’s your kind of thing), planning well-rounded meals, carefully preparing beautiful and healthful meals all from scratch and then allowing ourselves plenty of time to mindfully savor those meals with friends and family. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It makes me smile just to think about all that. Of course, that scenario isn’t real-world for most of us. In fact, with the autumn season arriving, your life may be getting busier by the day.
School lunch can be one of the earlier places where kids start to notice that some kids have more and some have less. One in six kids in the U.S. lives with hunger. If your family is doing well enough to have a little extra flexibility, talking with your kids about ways they can help their classmates get a decent lunch could be a wonderful learning opportunity. Here are a few ideas.
When it comes to preparing food, college dorm living can seem two steps away from camping. It only worsens when daytime dining hall options are limited to a scarcely stocked canteen or a busy schedule that requires a dorm room to be stocked with actual food. My colleagues have shared dorm room hacks and tips for turning your dorm room into a kitchen. As college students make the move to dorm rooms for another year it’s a good time to revisit these ideas and more.
Packing lunch every day can become a grind for parents, especially when half of it ends up in the trash because kids didn’t want to eat it. Empowering kids to help pack their own lunches can help take some of the pressure off parents and give kids more investment in their chosen lunch for the day. Here are a few tips for letting even the littlest ones in the family pack their lunch.