Balancing time and positive food experiences can be a challenge. One of the myths about positive food experiences is that you need a whole lot of time to devote to food experience activities, such as the following:
· Food Research
· Meal Planning
· Getting reactions and feedback
Whew, I’m tired already! Is it really that involved? NO! Luckily that is just a myth.
Positive food experiences can be created in many different environments and at many different times. Here we are not talking about just having an elaborate dinner. Positive food experiences include all foods eaten throughout the day, including meals and snacks.
“But I’m so pressed for time,” you might say. “I’m so busy with work or school or activities. I barely have time to do those things, let alone make a meal!” A little time management goes a long way in overcoming this challenge.
Healthy food choices throughout the day help contribute to a positive food experience. Discovering a new recipe for a healthy, on-the-go breakfast, for example, can help you build those memories and experiences. Doing so also instills you with confidence in your culinary abilities, and the opportunities you have to teach those skills to others.
Here are 5 tips for balancing time and positive food experiences:
1. Use down time to plan the food experience.
No matter where you are, you can use down time or transition time for such things as menu planning, food research, or thinking up ways to enhance the environment to focus more on the food experience.
If you take public transportation to work, school, or activities, for example, you can utilize that time for menu planning or food research. Perhaps you found a great on-the-go breakfast recipe at the beginning of the week, for example. You could then make a batch that may feed you breakfast for the whole week. Or maybe it’s one of those freezer dinner meals that you can just take it out when you need it on your way to a meeting or work or other activity.
You can also consider ways to enhance the environment in which you eat. Perhaps you often eat dinner at your desk at work. Listen to music specific to the cuisine you are having. Put some flowers or other décor on your desk. These types of things help to immerse you in the food experience environment.
2. Select and analyze fast and healthy recipes for various meals and snacks.
Build your knowledge base small bits at a time. Recipe videos are very popular. Within a few minutes, you can learn how to make a delicious recipe for yourself or others with whom you eat. If you or others have food allergies, make time to learn about that particular allergy and what foods they can eat that will give them the health benefits they need.
However, be sure to do your homework. The recipe might be considered quick and easy, but does it result in a healthy meal? What ingredients do they use? Are there ways you can tweak the recipe to make it healthier?
3. Sprinkle in food experience activities throughout the day.
Start your day off right. Depending on what meal you are planning to have, you can incorporate small amounts of food preparation into your day. Perhaps in the morning you can chop vegetables for a salad that night. You could put recipe ingredients into a crock-pot to have your meal cook through the day. Then you can have a nice hot meal when you arrive home.
4. Work together.
If there are other family members or friends in the home, enlist their help in preparing a meal. Talk with them about the benefits of doing so, such as their own health, and the confidence they obtain. The expression, “many hands make light work” is also true with positive food experiences. Doing so also helps you to exchange ideas. Perhaps your friends or family members may have food ideas that you have not previously thought of. You can help each other.
5. Focus on the Food.
It may seem counterintuitive to sit and focus on eating as we rush around trying to fit everything into our busy schedules. However, doing so helps to prioritize food in your daily life. It helps you to look outside yourself and show appreciation for the person who made the meal. That experience may inspire you to create a new way of making that dish in the future.
Focus your mind on the food by engaging in conversation specific to the meal. Discuss a food memory associated with that meal. Perhaps it is a recipe from your grandmother or other relative. You can then relate a story about when your grandmother used to cook those items.
Time management is key to a positive food experience. Time goes so fast for all of us. Managing that time, even in little bits, can greatly assist you in creating positive food experiences for yourself and others.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How do you manage time for a positive food experience? Share your ideas and thoughts below!