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 create space for family time.
Turn simply finding a recipe into a bigger lesson with these tips:
Explore world flavors: Your local market offers simple simmer sauces, an array of spice blends, and packaged grain and vegetable blends that celebrate flavors around the world and bring delectable dishes to the dinner table. Together, your family can pass on take-out and make your own exotic dishes like Asian Noodle Bowl, Spring Rolls, or Indian Roasted Cauliflower.
Sustainable eating: While the produce section may not change much throughout the year, the origin of fruits and vegetables, and impact on our environment, does. Use recipe research to remind your family of what grows in your region throughout the year and develop dishes to match.
Nutrition 101: It’s easy to see how nutrition can be taught through the recipes we choose. Set goals to develop dishes that are colorful, loaded with veggies or Guiding Stars-earning to learn about balanced nutrition.
What’s old is new again: Encourage each member of the family to find a new recipe for an old family favorite. For example, the taco lover in your house can find a tasty taco twist, while another family member can seek some new pasta perfection.
The skills associated with developing a menu that features a balanced blend of dishes, which reduces waste and feeds a family, are lifelong skills that some adults still work on. Get your kids started early on these essential skills.
Rolling ingredients: When parts of today’s dinner make tomorrow’s lunch easier to pack or the prep for another meal faster than you know you are cooking efficiently. For example, leftover chicken from tonight’s Grilled Mango Chicken works perfectly for turn Raspberry, Avocado & Mango Salad into tomorrow’s protein-rich lunch.
Matching the week: Your kids know they have a busy week, but do they know how hard you work to arrange the meals to match? They will when you work together to create easy meals that come together quickly or are portable to enjoy on the go.
Reducing waste: Some recipes may call for an array of fresh spices. Encourage your kids to work together to align recipes that work together. For example, if you make this Roasted Gnocchi & Vegetables one day then you can use the same ingredients to make Garlic Rosemary Baked Sweet Potato Chips or Roasted Tomato Sauce later in the week.
From learning to follow a budget to being flexible when you need to substitute different ingredients, supermarket shopping offers many lessons. Of course, when you shop with Guiding Stars you teach kids how to find the most nutritious foods. Even the youngest shopper can count to three Guiding Stars and the whole family can develop healthy shopping habits when you all read labels together. A healthy shopping trip can set the change for a nutritious lifestyle that bridges the supermarket and your home kitchen.