My son just turned 10, and while reflecting on a decade of motherhood and nourishing my kids and myself, I ache to slow down. I want more time with my kids, less time on the computer and—yes!—less time in the kitchen. When cooking, I’d prefer quality time instead of rushing through dinner prep while simultaneously making lunches, considering breakfast and failing to be present.
The universe heard my plea because the next day, between a client session and writing deadline, I squeezed in a run while listening to a podcast (still multitasking). The topic was how to manifest while energetically aligned in love, grounded in service and trusting in patience. I decided to approach food with those principles.
The following evening, the universe delivered! Spontaneously, I went out to eat some of the best food in the valley—made with passion, in service to the environment, our tastebuds, our bodies and this community. Unhurried, my friend and I enjoyed each other’s company and a well-crafted cocktail, made new acquaintances, and reveled in the artfully produced—and intensely delicious—dinner.
If I can manifest that food experience myself, how might I then contribute toward others manifesting more enjoyable and meaningful food experiences? I can plant seeds for slowing down to be mindful of our meal choices.
With a cornucopia of convenience snacks, processed meals, and frozen fare available everywhere, all the time, it’s easy to eat quickly or on-the-go (neither particularly enjoyable nor digestible). But these types of fast foods are an underlying cause of picky eating behaviors and all kinds of health conditions and disease. They keep us in the fast lane and promote hustle—less being, and more doing. We’ve been led us astray from growing, foraging, preserving, preparing and connecting with real food.
Slow food, contrarily, does not always mean spending three hours cooking. As families transition to summer, let’s commit to slowing down. Here are some ideas for cultivating love, appreciating service and practicing patience in our eating habits:
- Discuss family meal ideas for the week; focus on foods each of you loves.
- Prioritize food from our community grocery stores and slow down while shopping.
- Hand-select local and regional dry goods, baked goods, dairy and seasonal produce.
- Buy locally roasted coffee from your small-town coffee shop, artisan bread from the local bakery, and wholesome, made-from-scratch goodies from your favorite café.
- Make friends with a backyard chicken lover and buy pasture-raised eggs from her.
- Empower teens to make healthy choices with their lunch and snack money.
- Teach children to prepare simple meals—pancakes, frittatas, cookies, a side dish for dinner—with ingredients they choose.
- Be patient when kids read recipes or make a mess.
- Make at least one meal each week from scratch with your family.
- When eating out, prioritize food from local restaurants offering locally sourced ingredients.
- Give thanks to farmers, workers, truck drivers, grocery store staff, restauranteurs and Mother Earth.
- Love your body and its ability to digest food to keep you well.
- Sit down for meals and deter distractions.
With intention we can make mindful food choices despite the daily grind. Take time to check in about ways to be mindful of love, service, and patience in your family’s meals and preparation.
Jamie Truppi, MSN, is an integrative nutritionist focusing on functional foods and family wellness.