“Grocery shopping during the pandemic has become an episode of ‘Chopped’: 🤔 What can I make with a bruised apple, can of deviled ham, breadcrumbs, chicken feet, and maple syrup?”
Do you feel this way after a grocery store visit right now?
Plus, many of us now have kids at home for an uncertain "extended" period of time (anyone want to venture a guess on what that means?!).
Does this all feel completely overwhelming?
We all hope to make the best of these next few weeks and make them as productive and stress-free as possible. We have some GREAT news...when it comes to food there is no need to stress! Instead, this can be an opportunity for your meals and food to bring enjoyment and comfort...and actually help decrease anxiety.
Make it an adventure!
It's important to avoid getting stuck in a rut. It would be so easy to fall into a boring routine of eating a turkey and cheese sandwich every day, along with snacking on chips and candy throughout the day.
Avoid this temptation!
Instead, explore the in-season foods popping up right now, as well as foods that are more abundantly available. Farmers' markets are scheduled to open in April all over the U.S. -- they may look different than what we are used to for a while, but your local farmers are still growing nutritious and delicious REAL food! And, they would love to get this food into your hands! Some of the foods that are currently in-season (or will be in the next few weeks) include:
- Garlic scapes
- Greens (like swiss chard, arugula and kale)
- Green onions
- And more!
No rice? No problem!
If you were disappointed that there was no rice left on the shelves, no worries! Look to the left or the right and you will probably see bulgur, barley, farro, quinoa or another whole grain. Check out our coaching tip on the wide variety of whole grains -- this is the perfect opportunity to give them a try!
If you need some ideas what to do with these or other ingredients, simply type them into the Eat REAL America search bar and let the results inspire your next meal...the Summer Farro Salad needs to be on your "make soon" list...it is crazy good!
This is a perfect time to be adventurous with your meals and avoid getting stuck in a rut!
Cooking class 101!
- Ask them, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of yogurt, how many tablespoons would that be? Hint: there are 4 Tbsp in 1/4 cup, so 1/2 cup would be 8 Tbsp.
- Clean out the pantry and take a look at the nutritional labels on the cereal boxes and ask how many teaspoons of added sugar are in one serving. Hint: 4 grams of sugar are equal to 1 tsp.
- If their history class has them studying certain areas of the country or the world, prepare meals that are inspired by the local culture and customs. If they are studying Korea, get the kids excited about making Bi Bim Bop, and encourage them to share their experience with their classmates and friends!
Whatever you do, getting kids in the kitchen is a great way to keep them busy and their minds productive! Sadly, cooking is becoming a dying art in our country, but it is truly a life skill we should be teaching our kids. Our son recently decided he wanted to learn how to make omelets. After a few "learning moments," he has now mastered how to crack an egg, and makes impressive omelets with all kinds of ingredients -- it's given him a great sense of accomplishment!
Relief for your bank account!
If you find you have foods starting to go bad, check out our coaching tip on simple steps to save over $1,000 per year. Also, while certain ingredients like cabbage, beans and lentils are super-affordable, some people have a perception they are bland and boring. That is far from the truth. Check out the variety of delicious and affordable meals you can prepare:
Some other tips to save money include:
- Focus on in-season foods
- Store your food to maximize freshness. For veggie-specific strategies to preserve freshness and flavor, check out our Superfoods of the Month.
- Stock your pantry and freezer
- Make good use of "planned-overs" and 2-for-1 meals
- DIY...everything from bread to pizza crust to sauces to pickled veggies...there are SO MANY ways to simultaneously eat well and save money!
No one should feel despair and discouragement right now when it comes to food. We want to help your food to be a source of happiness into your homes during these challenging times.
And, what would we do with the apple, deviled ham, breadcrumbs, chicken feet and maple syrup? With a little creativity and a few other ingredients, maybe enjoy the great-tasting Pork, Apple & Sage Meatloaf or Ham Panini?!
Please let us know how you are getting creative in the kitchen!
We would love to share your ideas!