December 3rd Dining in Day “Family Meals”

By AMBER WARD, Extension Program Manager, Family Nutrition Program

Please join the UF/IFAS Extension- Sarasota (Manatee)team in celebrating FCS Dining In Day (also known as Family Youth and Consumer Science Day) by posting a selfie of you preparing or eating a healthy meal with your friends or family!   Here are the links for participating social media sites Twitter Facebook  Linkedin Instagram.  Click here to get ideas for what you can do what you can do to show your support.

This year’s theme, the financial aspects of mealtime, is our inspiration for providing you with these 5 cost-saving, healthy family meal tips.Eat together.  When families dedicate time to spend mealtimes together at home they tend to eat less fried foods and soda; while increasing their intake for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.  Fifty eight percent of children ages 0-5 eat family meals every day; while that number decreases to 36.2% once children reach ages 12-17.  The costs of eating out can exponentially add up, so you can save money by eating at home.

  1. Eat together.  When families dedicate time to spend mealtimes together at home they tend to eat less fried foods and soda; while increasing their intake for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.  Fifty eight percent of children ages 0-5 eat family meals every day; while that number decreases to 36.2% once children reach ages 12-17.  The costs of eating out can exponentially add up, so you can save money by eating at home.

 

  1. Grow your own food. Starting your own container or raised bed garden is a fabulous way to spend quality family time and save money in the kitchen.  Herbs such as basil, rosemary, mint, thyme, and dill can enhance your meal; while saving you from having to buy expensive herbs in the store.  Here are some healthy vegetable growing tips from the University of Florida.

 

  1. Don’t let food spoilage sneak up on you! It is so easy to feel inspired when you are grocery shopping, just make sure that you prepare the food you buy before it starts to go bad.  Have a plan for the food you buy and to use up leftovers.  Did you know that about 90 billion pounds of edible food goes uneaten each year and this can cost Americans $370 per person every year? Learn more about preventing food loss/waste using smart food storage solutions at the USDA app FoodKeeper App.

 

  1. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Engaging in mindful eating can help us better enjoy our food while not over-indulging.  If you eat double the needed portion size because you were rushing through your meal, you will often exceed your caloric needs.  This will not only contribute to weight gain overtime but it will also cost you double in your food budget!  If you make a lot of food, that’s great!  Just pack a few containers with the surplus food and use it for tomorrow’s lunches.

 

  1. Find cost-friendly inspiration in your pantry!  Have you opened your pantry to find food that has expired?   Once or twice a year, make a list of your remaining pantry items and challenge yourself and your family to find recipes that work with your selection.  You may find your new favorite recipe for low-cost quick bread, chili, or even come up with your family’s own special, herb and spice blend to season lean cuts of protein.