After the hustle of every holiday season, I find myself asking the question, why does the simple task of food preparation have to be so hard? Food brings us so much joy and making a meal is one of the oldest and truest expressions of love. We can all remember a simple family meal together, hear the chatter around the table and the tastes and smells of our family’s favorite dishes. Why has this become such a seemingly impossible dream?
After talking to hundreds of families over the last two years, I’ve realized that even as our lives have changed, the ‘tasks’ of meal preparation, including planning, shopping and cooking has changed so much too. The explosion of individual food preferences and health requirements in recent years has made meal planning and preparation overwhelming for the typical family. The average family has four different sets of dietary requirements to take into consideration when preparing every single meal – ranging from finding good healthy meals to eat through to dealing with food allergies, personal diets and management of a health condition. And all with less time than ever to cook.
As a result, putting nutritious food on the table has gone from a relatively simple task to a highly complex activity and we’re all crying out for more help to take control and simply enjoy our meals together again. So, let’s make 2017 the year to reclaim the family connection, starting with family meal time.
This year, I’m aspiring to do just that and setting a simple resolution to just be and eat together, as much as possible. Using a home cooked meal to connect with those I love, even if it’s just for 30 minutes in an otherwise crazy day. And I’m going to do that without spending hours planning, analyzing, calculating, shopping, and preparing it, because I don’t have that kind of time!
It’s one of the main reasons we built EatLove. We’re in the rush hours of our lives and for many of us food preparation is often a haphazard experiment based on what’s in the fridge, or even an unmanageable chore that leaves our requirements and restrictions unmet. EatLove pulls balanced meal together, where the focus is not on what you can’t eat due to any restrictions, but what delicious food you can eat that will make you feel nourished and good. That is our reason for being. We’re here to shoulder some of the hard work to make “us” a real thing around mealtimes.
Over the next 6 weeks, we will be introducing a new topic every Sunday. We’re here to meet you where you are. Let us help you start small: just add one dinner today (though if you can add three, even better!). Our meal plans are optimized to decrease food waste, so you buy and use up all your fresh ingredients. We make every ingredient count!
Researchers at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University found that family dinners get better with practice. And for those of us, who haven’t had a lot of family meals together for a while, it may be a little harder to get into the groove. It does get easier in time especially as you recruit those around you to help out and start using EatLove together.
Eating together is a bit like trying a new appealing recipe. First time, you’re motivated, but it’s daunting to break the mold and try something new. Second time, you become more confident, and by the fourteenth time, it’s become a family favorite.
But we’re all in this together and I, and everyone at EatLove, is here to help make meals together something to live and love in 2017!
All best wishes for a wonderful, tasty and together New Year!
Monique Nadeau & Tara Linitz MS RD