Raising a healthy family is about cultivating positive, nourishing relationships with food both at the dinner table and in the kitchen. Here are 5 simple tips from family nutrition Expert Cristina Ricioppo to revamp your kitchen practices for success.
Little ones begin their relationship with food early in life, giving parents many opportunities to make it a positive one. However, keeping everyone well-fed with healthy meals and snacks can be a challenge as busy parents. With an unequipped kitchen, it becomes easier to opt for convenient, not-as-healthy options on busier days.
Use these quick tips to start your planning in the kitchen:
Develop a cooking routine.
A routine looks different for every family. For some, it’s a weekly trip to the grocery store followed by a session of early prepping for the week. For others, breaking up these tasks throughout the week is more manageable. Experiment to find what works for you.
Maximize your time in the kitchen.
Make multiple servings of your meal or single items to easily work into future meals. Extra grilled steaks or roasted chicken thighs are easy for both dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Leftovers from a double batch of Saturday’s whole-grain, blueberry pancakes can be frozen and reheated for quick breakfasts during the week.
Use storage containers.
Once you’ve cooked up your big batches of food, use high-quality containers to keep everything fresh. Choose glass, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastics. Clear containers work the best because everything can be easily identified and used.
Keep the fridge tidy and clean.
To make the most of your leftovers and avoid spoiled items, thoroughly clean out your fridge once a week. Toss or compost anything old and wilting, wipe down all the shelves, and check for expired condiments.
Stock up on the good stuff.
Keep a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits on hand, and limit the amount of processed food that comes in the door. Children are more likely to accept a snack of sliced cucumbers and grapes when it isn’t competing against chips and cookies.
Cristina Ricioppo, RD, LD is a San Antonio-based Registered Dietitian focusing on creating positive culinary experiences around the dinner table for individuals and their families. By nourishing the body and mind, Cristina helps others translate their nutrition needs into simple and delicious healthy foods that can be shared as a family. Visit her at Tableside Nutrition!