Ten Ways to Nurture Nutritiously | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Ten Ways to Nurture Nutritiously


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Ten Ways to Nurture Nutritiously

Make a strategy and make your life easier

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Getting a nutritious meal on the dinner table that the whole family enjoys is no easy feat, let alone after a long day at work. Don’t despair, say Lindsay Nakash and Sarah Rueven, dietitians who addressed UJA-Federation of New York’s Young Professional Women’s Group April 27. With the following tips in mind, busy parents can prepare healthy meals without slaving away in the kitchen.

Dietitians Lindsay Nakash and Sarah Rueven addressed the UJA-Federation of New York’s Young Professional Women’s Group

1. Plan recurring menus for every weekday

For example: Meatball Monday, Taco Tuesday, One-Pan Wednesday, Kitchen Sink Thursday (aka “leftover night”), Frittata Friday. Allot time each weekend to writing out and planning your menus.

2. Make Sunday prep day

Shop and chop. Do as much as you can on the weekend to minimize your efforts during the week.

3. Use shortcuts

Make a large batch of soup, meatballs, or casserole over the weekend and freeze some to serve during the week. Use pre-cut, frozen veggies and pre-made doughs and sauces.

4. Bake frittatas in muffin pans

You can mix and match an array of vegetables and cheese, and freeze them for dinner in a pinch.

5. Use your slow cooker

Toss the ingredients in before leaving for work and come home to a complete meal.

6. Keep it simple

Use a protein, vegetable, and whole grain or healthy starch as your base, and work from there. With pre-chopped vegetables, you can make a stir-fry in five minutes. Frozen fish defrosted in your fridge during the day can be baked in 20 minutes. Buy a roast chicken, sauté some spinach, and microwave a couple of sweet potatoes.

7. Don’t offer too many choices

No short order cooking allowed! If your child refuses to eat what’s offered, don’t lose heart. Children often need eight to 15 tastes of a new food before they like it. If you serve food family style, your kids will see adults helping themselves to and enjoying food that they just might bring themselves to try.

8. Choose your ingredients carefully

Use whole wheat doughs and pastas, avoid fat-free dairy, and use whole eggs, not egg whites. (Growing kids need healthy fat and nutrients from egg yolks.) Also, don’t keep ice cream in the house; it should be a treat. And never, ever drink soda!

9. Involve your kids

They likely will be happy to help. Small children can add seasoning, stir, or rinse produce. Older ones can set and clear the table, pour drinks, and be more involved in food prep. Take your children shopping and ask them to choose a new fruit or vegetable to try. Play around: have your kids think up a menu of only one color or with all five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.

10. Order in or eat out

Give yourself a break. But try to avoid children’s menus, which “dumb down” kids’ tastes and rarely feature healthy options. Instead, share a main course, or piece together a meal from side dishes and/or appetizers. Give your child autonomy by letting him or her choose components of an omelet, salad, or pizza. And if your child insists on chicken fingers and fries, giving in once in a while is fine.

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