Summer is a time to unwind, simplify, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. What a better place to start than in the kitchen. Follow these simple steps to help ease stress in the kitchen and enjoy and a few summer time recipes that are sure to become family favorites.
Nine Steps to Better Eating
by Suzanne Yearley, What’s For Dinner
Suzanne offers private and group cooking classes focusing on quick, tasty, and healthful meals for your family.
Plan ahead! Those last minute marketing trips and scrambling around the kitchen amp up the stress. Take a few minutes two or three times a week to think out meals for the next few days. You will save time and money by shopping less, buying specifically what you need, and using up what you have in the fridge.
Take the planning one step further and keep a grocery list on your computer. Print it out and check off what you need. Divide your list into sections the way that the grocery store is laid out. Follow your list as you walk through the store.
Keep a binder with recipes that you have made or want to try. When you don’t know what to cook, page through it and you will have a list at your fingertips. Many prefer this to a digital version, since it is easier to page through. But by all-means, for tech-savvy cooks, online files work too.
Put an end to mealtime complaining and get your kids involved. Let your kids select the dinner recipe a few times a week. Give them the responsibility of making the shopping list too. Older children and teens can even be responsible for helping to prep the meal. They are vested in the process and the outcome and more likely to eat their food.
Make the food attractive and appealing. Kids will be much more likely to try something that looks delicious.
Continue to put out new things. Kids who watch adults eating sweet potatoes may think they look good but may be hesitant to try them. Eventually, after watching the adults in their lives eat them they may take the plunge and find they are a favorite food.
Try new ingredients with flavors that your children like. For example, if your children love Asian food, get them to try, like and eat sautéed broccoli and greens, shrimp, and rice noodles by preparing them with Chinese or Thai seasonings.
The same is true for cooking method. If your kids like chicken fingers, try making fish sticks to introduce fish. If they like beef tacos and hamburgers, try using ground turkey instead. Once they have accepted a new ingredient, they will continue to eat it as you change how you prepare it.
Finally, eating with your children, even if it is a quick dinner at the kitchen island, is the best modeling. If they see you enjoying a healthy and varied diet, they will be more inclined to do the same. And the phone-free family-time (even if only for a few minutes) is priceless.