I used to consider food as a way to fill my hungry belly, not giving much thought to what it might do (or not do) for my body. I paid more attention to the price and convenience than I did the ingredients. With a busy family of 6, it is not easy to prepare a healthy dinner every evening as we have play rehearsals, soccer or basketball practices, foreign language studies, and playdates nearly every evening of the week. I must plan ahead (2-week menu) and think ahead (start prepping dinner at breakfast time), but it is important to me to not only fill the bellies of my family, but to provide nutritious building blocks for their brains and bodies.
While this vintage poster may just about say it all, there are a few adaptations that I would like to make.
- Buy it with thought. Is it on the menu/grocery list? Do you know what is in it? How many steps removed is it from being a plant/crop?
- Cook it with care. When you make the time to cook nutritionally for your family, you will be more likely to eat healthier, more nutritious food and sit down together for the meal.
- Use less wheat & meat. While my family is neither gluten-free nor vegetarian, I have found that by cutting back on our meat portions, we are saving money and calories. I have come to consider meat more as a flavoring in dishes than as a main course. By the time wheat reaches your dinner plate, it has become so processed that it retains little of its value.
- Buy local foods. By buying local, you are not only supporting your local economy (which effects you and your family directly), but you are reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are used in transporting your food from one side of the globe to the other. There is a high cost to buying cheap foods from China or out of season foods from the southern hemisphere.
- Serve just enough. Both your budget and your waistline (and the waistlines of your family members) will thank you for this one. Portion control is hard to achieve. Our instinct is to gorge ourselves so that we will survive a shortage. However, by eating just enough, we will consume fewer calories and reduce the amount of food that must be prepared.
- Use what is left. Have leftovers? That’s alright! Eat them for lunch. Add them to another dish. Freeze them.
- And above all, Don’t waste it! Good money was spent on the food in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry so throwing it out is like throwing away your money. I’m not going to remind you about the starving children throughout our country and the world (ahem), but I will remind you that that food was grown, harvested, transported, sorted, and then displayed before you shopped at the grocery store, paid hard-earned money, and then brought it home.
How relevant do you believe these rules to be today?
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