March 31st, 2020

Training Matters: Bright side to being stuck at home is enjoying your food

By Kimberlee Brooks on March 20, 2020.

March is Nutrition Month and this year more than ever, Canadians are faced with new decisions around eating.

As we enter this unprecedented time, dietitians want to remind everyone that not only what you eat is important, but how you eat too.

Healthy eating is about more than food, it’s also about family, memories and emotions. As a parent I know I am stressing about how I am going to home school and support their learning. But I have noticed some opportunities of slowing down, staying home and not rushing out to activities and school.

Breakfast meals this week have not focused on asking (well yelling) at the kids to hurry up and eat so we can get out the door. Instead of me getting their breakfast ready while they get dressed, they have time to learn how to make their own. My 11-year-old son decided on his own to make scrambled eggs and toast. He had to throw out his first attempt, but his second pan was the best eggs he ever had!

My 7-year-old was complaining he was bored the other day, so I asked if he wanted to help me peel carrots for supper. He has asked me everyday since (this was five days ago) if he can peel vegetables. So we have included carrots in beef stew, roasted carrots and potatoes with chicken and cut up peeled carrots for snacks. He has peeled a whole bag of large carrots this week.

For St. Patrick’s day I made whole wheat green pancakes with green sprinkles and whip cream. I didn’t hear the boys complaining about missing St. Patrick’s Day activities at school, but instead saw their big smiles as they ate their special green meal.

My boys have looked up muffin recipes they want to make and we have spent time reviewing how to measure dry and wet ingredients. They are learning about fractions and that there is a big difference between half a teaspoon and 12 tablespoons. This has also taught them to read the recipe more closely.

We are trying to limit how often we need to go to the grocery store so the kids have been helping with meal planning to use the food we have at home. They will look in the pantry and freezer to help check off the ingredients we need for the meal. I am finding they are more open to trying new dishes as they are involved with pulling it together.

Growing up I used to help my mom make perogies and I have always wanted to do this with my own kids. It is a bit of a long process though. Now that our weekend is not busy with sports, we have time to make dough, cook potatoes and spend time around the table pinching corners together. I can share one of my favourite memories about growing up in a Ukrainian community with my kids. And my 11-year-old can eat perogies to his heart’s content as they are his favourite.

My older stepson is also home right now so supper meals are full of laughter with all the boys poking fun at each other and sharing stories. My younger sons are excited to have their big brother around to hang out with.

I can’t help but think even though this is a scary time for us all, that it could very well be a time that our kids remember with good memories of time spent with family, eating meals together and learning about food, cooking and traditions. At least that is my hope.

For more nutrition month content and to download the Nutrition Month 2020 Recipe eBook go to nutritionmonth2020.ca.

Kimberlee Brooks, RD, MSc, is a sport dietitian with the Alberta Sport Development Centre SE and can be reached at kbrooks@mhc.ab.ca.

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