Lunch and Learn!

Working and homeschooling at home this fall? The structure of school and work can help limit our eating to designated meal times. When we’re all at home all day, though, we may graze on less-than-healthy choices. What to do?

  • Involve the whole family in planning meals and menus. Family members can suggest weekly menu items, including something new. The ISU Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart. (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/) website has planning tips and a Five Day Meal Planning Worksheet (tinyurl.com/yyhaf3w2).
  • Get the family involved in preparation and cooking. They may be more inclined to help if the menu was their suggestion. Children will learn colors, shapes, reading, math, and science as they cook, without realizing they are “learning.”
  • Prep meals in advance. View this video to learn how to Cook Now, Enjoy Later (vimeo.com/419747928).
  • Make snack bins in your fridge and on your kitchen table for both perishable and nonperishable snacks.
    – Nonrefrigerated Snacks: peanut butter; washed fresh fruit such as pears or bananas; individual bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers, or trail mix; individual applesauce or fruit cups; or Apple Cinnamon Bread (see featured recipe).
    – Refrigerated Snacks: low-fat yogurt; precut vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery; or high-protein foods such as cottage cheese, cheese sticks, hummus, or hard-cooked eggs.
  • Keep sweet and salty snacks out of sight.
  • Everyone “starving” right before a meal? Set cut-up raw vegetables out while the meal is being prepared. Watch Veg Out! (vimeo.com/419742344) for more on vegetables.
  • Remember you don’t have to be perfect at this. Do your best as a family and have fun.

Sources:
Adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research (aicr.org).
For more snack ideas see the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Snacks for Healthy Kids (store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4605).

What’s for Dinner?

Isn’t that the almost-daily question? Wouldn’t’ it be great to be handed a menu with all the preparation steps outlined? ISU Extension’s Food Safety website provides just that. A simple dinner menu with kid-appeal foods, recipes, preparations steps that ensure the food will be prepared safely, a grocery list, and even a video to watch the meal preparation are all included. Tips to ensure food is handled safely from the grocery store to cooking, to storing leftovers are outlined. Enjoy an easy meal tonight!

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