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A friendly reminder "Get your fruits and vegetables in 2019"

By now it’s well-accepted knowledge that eating well is good for you, especially getting your fruits and vegetables. The harder part is making sure that you and your family actually do, well, get your fruits and vegetables. People are often busy, especially families with children that are old enough to be involved in sports and other activities. Often people find themselves stuck in a loop in which they are too busy daily to think up and prepare good, healthy meals and snacks with the right nutrients to keep themselves going, and so become tired or additionally stressed, leading to feeling even less able to prepare that good, healthy food.

The first step is to take a small step back and acknowledge that fueling yourself (and your family) is important enough that you really do need to make time to do it well. The second step is to carve out a small piece of time for step three – planning ahead. The best spaces for this time are going to depend on you; pick a day and time that help you feel ready for the next week or so. There’s a reduction in stress when you know that you have some of the important daily and weekly decisions already covered. You’ll save money on your grocery bill, too!

Dinner tends to be the best bang for your planning buck, in that it’s the meal most likely to be rushed, or replaced with take-out, as it occurs during prime time for sports and activities. I suggest by starting small – if you know everyone likes pasta, plan a pasta dinner once a week. You can always vary the noodle type, or make it a “pasta bar” so that you can find new sauces, cheeses, or meats that are hits. Another easy switch is vegetables. Frozen vegetables are generally frozen at their peak nutrition point, and they cook up quickly.

For nights when dinner is during or right after an activity, try finding healthy store-bought options of items like spring rolls or chicken fingers, that can be cooked ahead of time and taken with you in a thermos or bowl. Your oven likely has a feature that will let you set it to cook at a certain time – learn to use it! I always make sure I bring those in an insulated bag, with dish towels or oven gloves wrapped around them, so they’re hot when they come out.

Remember, starting is the hardest part! Take 10-15 minutes this weekend and see how planning dinner ahead of time can make your life that little bit easier.

By Talena Kraus B.Sc., M.Sc., proud Mom, Gardener, Farmer and Author.

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