Every Tuesday, I share my thoughts on Family Life.
I found myself fascinated recently by the article "Serving pre-prepared food doesn't mean you're a bad parent" over at CNN. Maybe I'm simply looking for ways to assuage my personal guilt and not cooking from scratch every night of the week -- and I'll freely admit to using Chipotle as a personal productivity crutch far too frequently...
That being said, I think the debate in the comments section of the CNN article points to not only the great divide moms feel over this topic, but also the amazing stress something as vital as feeding our families can create in our homes.
As the CNN article states, many families are seeking shortcuts when it comes to meal preparation:
Nearly half of all Americans use partially prepared foods or ready-to-cook foods to feed their families, according to a 2010 Mintel survey.
Now that there are only three of us living in my household, and frequently only two of us at the dinner table due to my teen's practice schedule and my husband's eratic work schedule, I find myself more concerned with sitting down to the dinner table together than with what's actually being served. I'm not stating that this is a good thing -- I'm just confessing to my personal reality at the moment and seeking your suggestions and ideas for making "easy" more healthy.
I tend to do a great deal of our shopping at Trader Joes and Whole Foods these days, combining fresh produce with partially pre-prepared items. We're also blessed to have a bevy of Farmer's Markets in my home town and ample access to beautiful fruits and vegetables.
How do you cope with busy meal times? What time-savings strategies do you employ to cut down on prep time? What helps you to keep a healthy balance in your family's meals?