More than a few of us have some not-so-fond food memories from our childhood of overcooked noodles in congealed soup, but casseroles are a classic way to make a family dish in a single pan…sort of. I cheated on this one. In point of fact, a lot of casseroles require you to precook ingredients and can be on the fussy side. The beautiful thing about them, though, is that you can make them in advance so you only have to slide that night’s dish into the oven when you come home. For meal preppers, mastering the casserole is a must.
Health experts tout the health and social benefits of eating a meal together as a family, but parents cite too little time as a barrier to making this happen. On weeknights, families may have even less time to cook a meal due to busy schedules. Here are a few of my favorite timesaving swaps to help families spend less time cooking and more time around the dinner table.
I’ve written about snacking a few times including how to snack when you travel and fun snacks that engage kids. It’s easy for me to write about snacks because I love them for sustaining energy and maintaining metabolism. That said, I don’t recommend grazing, which denotes images of grabbing food throughout the day without a plan or consideration of the timing. Snacking, in my view, is deliberate, purposeful, and planned eating that can be built into our day to ensure we meet our daily needs. Since I recommend that snacks be planned just like meals, I also suggest getting the family involved in prepping snacks for the week. With a bit of effort, you’ll have balanced options ready for your family when you need them.
Sheet pan dinners are one of the rock stars of the meal prep world. You may have visions of a chest freezer stacked full of zippered bags that you just up-end onto the pan and go. That’s close to the reality, but results will vary. Follow these tips for constructing a balanced sheet pan meal your family can love.
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.