in my last post, i talked about food culture: american food culture, family food culture, and wanting to make changes to our family's approach to food. and today i'm back with a list of 15 values and guidelines i'm cleverly calling:
how the olsons do food
so. it's a work in various stages of progress. some of the items on the list are things we are already good at. some of them need work. but all of them are important to me and match my vision for less stress and more joy re: food and family.
obviously, each family's approach to food and mealtime is a highly individualized thing, and what's important to me might not so much be important to you and your family, but i thought you might be curious to see?
(and as always, i'd love to hear your ideas/feedback.)
HOW THE OLSONS DO FOOD
1) food is important. prioritize and consciously make time for food--real food--that is minimally processed and prepared at home.
2) eat mindfully. pay attention to what you eat and how. enjoy it.
3) meals are a social experience. eat as a family as often as possible. (for us this means dinner is served at 7:00 instead of 5:00 or 6:00.)
4) related to above: no distractions at the table. this includes phones, books, magazines, toys, etc.
5) sit down to eat. at the table. no exceptions.
6) whenever possible, serve a vegetable as a first course instead of a side dish.
7) everyone in the family eats the same thing. no short-order cooking.
8) children are not required to eat everything on their plates, but they are strongly encouraged to try everything.
9) related to above: no whining or complaining at meals. if you can't say something nice about the food, just please don't say anything at all. cool?
10) a snack is served (at the table) between lunch and dinner, generally around 4:00 PM. no other snacking is allowed.
11) water is the only beverage appropriate for guzzling. if you are thirsty, drink water! milk and juice are foods, not beverages, and should be consumed sparingly and mindfully.
12) use cloth napkins (we use unpaper towels) to help combat a fast-food mindset.
13) related to above: no plastic dishes.
14) everyone pitches in with meal prep and clean up. children have specific responsibilities, based on age-appropriateness and their interests.
15) when cooking, clean as you go. a disastrous mess of a kitchen is stressful while you're cooking. and at the end of a meal it's a major drag.