how to spend more

IMG_2806Time and money, that is. At what cost are we spending less money on our food? And at what cost are we spending less time eating? It’s easier than ever to eat just about anywhere; the justification being that it saves time. The next thing you know they’ll be making meals in a can. Oh wait. They already do that. Well, I’m still waiting for bathrooms to get coffee makers.

Why do we eat so quickly? Why do we rush through meals or buy convenience foods that can be eaten in the car? I believe Michael Pollan said it best in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: “Perhaps the reason you eat food this quickly is because it doesn’t bear savoring. The more you concentrate on how it tastes, the less like anything it tastes….And so it goes, bite after bite, until you feel not satisfied exactly, but simply, regrettably full.”

The headlines are everywhere: “dinner in 15 minutes”, “quick fix breakfasts”. Yes, we’re busy, but we will always be so. Someone asked me once how I have time to exercise and I replied how do you have time to sleep? We make time for what’s important. Watching a 3-year-old peel a carrot is only agonizing if you’ve decided that dinner needs to be ready in 15 minutes. If starting to make dinner 10 minutes earlier means that you can teach your kids how to peel vegetables or crack eggs then find 10 minutes from something less important (like TV watching, email checking, facebook stalking, sock darning).

Approach cooking with excitement and look at it as an investment in your family’s health. Allow extra time for meal prep. Even plan your day around cooking dinner, instead of forgetting about it until 4:30 (which I still do occasionally. Really. How does one forget about something that happens every single day of one’s life??). The point is to care more about how and what you eat, which will result in more time spent preparing food and eating it. This might be just once a week for now, but I urge you to try it.

Learning how to eat slowly and spend a longer time cooking will teach children life skills far more important than football skills. Unless of course you’re raising a budding professional. In which case never mind; both skills are equally important (although my vote is still with learning to cook and eat because most people don’t remain professional football players into their 80s. But every 80-year-old’s gotta eat).

We tend to invest an abundance of time helping our kids with their homework and racing them off to different classes. But ask yourself where your priorities are and what is better long term? An adult who fondly remembers freezing their behind’s off at soccer practice? Or is it a greater service to our kids and to the world if we raise a generation of people who, as adults, love healthy food? Who know how to cook healthy foods from scratch? Who appreciate where food comes from and how different flavors and tastes work together? And who savor each and every bite?

Stop and smell the roses.

Tune in next week for tips on how to spend more money on groceries. No joke.

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