The holidays can be a hectic and stressful time for families. From stretched budgets to stretched patience, many people find themselves falling into their very worst food habits come the holiday season – eating a lot of sugary, processed and packaged foods. It’s the very thing that sets you up for the cycle of nasty colds and flus you are trying so hard to avoid.
So what if you could pick just one thing that would slow everything down, keep the kids more grounded and less likely to get their annual holiday season flu and would help everyone feel just a little…well, saner.
Here are a few simple slow food ideas that can help you stay in the headspace many of us actually yearn for over the holidays- healthy, happy, focused and filled with gratitude.
- Make a meal plan: This will most definitely save you time and money and you will almost surely boost the quality of what your family is eating. If you have never done this before it will be transformative. I promise. Sit down on Saturday or Sunday. Bust out your favourite cookbooks/food blogs/recipe sites. Be sure to allow your children some input in this process.
- Take time to bake with your children. This can double as quality time and they will be learning a food skill.
- If you have a crockpot, dust it off and use it. Simple dishes likes sauces, stews and soups can be slow roasted all day so when you get home there is minimal prep waiting for you (along with a nutrient-dense meal).
- Make sure kids have a good, hearty breakfast each day to keep them in tip top form over the holidays. Try substituting hot cereal like oatmeal for processed, boxed cereals. Or scrambled eggs, toast and fruit.
- And finally, make sure your child is well-fed BEFORE going out to holiday parties. Processed, convenience foods are easier to resist when you are well-nourished. You may also consider contributing a healthy dish or snack. In a pinch, even a box of mandarin oranges will do.
You can find great holiday recipes, articles and videos here, at my brand new site Domestic Diva and at DigInManitoba.ca (where you can try the Wild rice cranberry pecan salad, sunshine cookies, Gluten free applesauce pumpkin muffins and homemade chicken nuggets (to name a few!). You can also find a list of local, sustainable farmers you can connect with for quality, made-in-Manitoba foods on the Dig In site.
*I wrote this article for a provincial not-for-profit called Food Matters Manitoba. It’s part of the Dig In Manitoba initiative I helped launch earlier this year. Dig In connects parents, children, educators and farmers.Each month, these articles are circulated to member schools.
Adrienne Percy is the mother of 2 active, young children who are alternately budding chefs and food critics. Her passion is finding new and simple ways to bring nutrient dense, sustainably grown foods into her family’s life. You can read about her kid-friendly, culinary adventures at DomesticDiva.ca