Making Powerful Impacts with a New Family Ecological Framework

On Thursday, October 29th Making Powerful Impacts with a New Family Ecological Framework will be one of the online break-out sessions at the 2020 Annual Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Conference.

We invite you to join us:

 

Description: Workshop session participants will be introduced to an energetic, lovable, Ohio family and will work in small groups to determine how the four concepts apply to different situations for this family and then share with the larger group. This activity will spark ideas for additional ways to apply this framework to work on various topics with families across the state.

Presenters & Group Facilitators:  James Bates and Erin Yelland* with Patrice Powers-Barker, Emily Marrison, Melissa J. Rupp, Laura Stanton, Kathy Tutt, Courtney Woelfl  (email links at end)

*Bates and Yelland are co-authors of  Family Rules, Family Relationships, and the Home: Reconceptualizing Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change in the Family Context published in 2018 in The Journal of the National Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (see page 112)

References:

Bates, J. and Yelland, E. (2018). Family Rules, Family Relationships, and the Home: Reconceptualizing Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change in the Family Context. The Journal of the National Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Volume 13.

Brutus Buckeye (2020). The Ohio State University. Retrieved 10/5/2020 from https://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/brutus-buckeye/

Bourhis, R., & Lanyon, S. (2015). The Autobiography of Brutus Buckeye: As Told to His Parents Sally Lanyon and Ray Bourhis https://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-Brutus-Buckeye-Parents-Bourhis/dp/1939710375

Chute, T. (2014). Interview of Ray Bourhis and Sally Lanyon. Ohio State University Archives. Ohio State University. University Archives Oral History Program. Ohio State University Oral History Project. https://kb.osu.edu/handle/1811/73533

Gregson, J., Foerster, S. B., Orr, R., Jones, L., Benedict, J., Clarke, B.,… Zotz, K. (2001). System, environmental, and policy changes: Using the social-ecological model as a framework for evaluating nutrition education and social marketing programs with low-income audiences. Journal of Nutrition Education, 33, S4-S15.

Kegler, M. C., Honeycutt, S., Davis, M., Dauria, E., Berg, C., Dove, C., Gamble, A., & Hawkins, J. (2015). Policy, systems, and environmental change in the Mississippi Delta: Considerations for evaluation design. Health Education & Behavior, 42(1S), 57S-66S. doi.org/10.1177/1090198114568428

McLeroy, K. R., Bibeau, D., Steckler, A., & Glanz, K. (1988). An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Education Quarterly, 15, 351-377.

Moore, T. & Asay, S. (2015). Family resource management. In M. J. Walcheski, & J. S. Reinke (Eds.), Family life education: The practice of family science (pp. 205 -212). Minneapolis: MN: National Council on Family Relations.

Real Money Real World (2020). Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved 10/14/20 from https://realmoneyrealworld.osu.edu/home

Tudge, J., Mokrova, I., Hatfield, B. and Karnik, R. (2009). Uses and Misuses of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory of Human Development. Journal of Family Theory & Review. December 2009: 198 – 210.

What Is ‘Policy, Systems and Environmental Change’? (nd). Cook County Department of Public Health. Retrieved 09/22/20 from https://www.douglas.k-state.edu/docs/healthandnutrition/What%20Is%20Policy%20Systems%20and%20Environmental%20Change.pdf

Co-presenters, October 2020

James Bates bates.402@osu.edu 

Erin Yelland erinyelland@ksu.edu

Patrice Powers-Barker powers-barker.1@osu.edu

Emily Marrison marrison.12@osu.edu

Melissa J. Rupp  rupp.26@osu.edu

Laura Stanton stanton.60@osu.edu

Kathy Tutt tutt.19@osu.edu

Courtney Woelfl woelfl.1@osu.edu

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta – Create Your Own

Inspired by the work of Utah State University Extension and their Create Better Health series of recipes, specifically their Create a Skillet Meal handout, this create-your-own Creamy Pumpkin Pasta is a good choice for a few reasons:

The photo shows the recipe on the left with fresh rosemary, cooked on the stovetop and the right shows the recipe with nutmeg and crushed red pepper cooked in an electric skillet with deep sides and glass lid.

  • It’s fast and easy
  • The pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A
  • It’s adult – and child – approved!
  • It’s easy to adapt this basic recipe to meet your family’s needs and preferences:
    • Choose low-sodium broth
    • Add your own protein – from cooked chicken to a vegetarian version with Cannellini beans
    • Choose your favorite seasonings

 

Basic Recipe for One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Approximately 4 servings

Pasta – 8 oz pasta (linguine, penne or egg noodles)
Broth – 4 cups (can choose low-sodium, vegetarian, etc.)
Canned Pumpkin – 2 cups (1 – 15-oz can pumpkin)
Cheese – 4 oz (cream cheese, goat cheese or mascarpone)
Pepper – ¼ teaspoon
Choose Seasonings
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg OR 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
• 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Decide on optional ingredients:
• Optional (to cook in the one-pot recipe): ½ medium onion (about 1 cup) and 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic, salt to taste
• Optional: (to add to the pot towards the end) a large handful of fresh chopped greens such as spinach, arugula, swiss chard to cook or wilt towards the end
• Optional (to garnish): fresh parsley, parmesan cheese

1. Choose your favorite one-pot cooking method: either a large, heavy pot on the stovetop or a medium to large size electric skillet with a glass lid.

2. Add pasta, broth, pumpkin, pepper, and dry seasonings to the pot. (if choosing to use onions and or garlic, add this also).

3. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook. Stir frequently, until the liquid is almost completely evaporated (approximately 10 minutes). The pasta should be tender and the sauce will start to thicken.

4. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese until it is melted and combined. If using fresh chopped greens or fresh rosemary, add it at this point. Let sit a few minutes for the sauce to thicken.

5. Serve with (optional) garnishes like fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

Other versions of this recipe can be found here and  here.

CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator) in the Workplace (Specifically Extension)

(one-page Handout_CFLE in workplace . All information on handout is listed below)

Questions for students: 

  • What helps you?
  • Who helps you?
  • Who do you help?

Suggested Readings:

 Myers-Walls, J. A., Ballard, S. M., Darling, C., & Myers-Bowman, K. S. (2011). Reconceptualizing the domain and boundaries of family life education. Family Relations, 60, 357-372. www.ncfr.org/sites/default/files/domains_article_fr.pdf

Kirby Wilkins, J., Taner, E., Cassidy, D. & Cenizal, R. (2014). Family Life Education: A profession with a proven return on investment (ROI). National Council on Family Relations, white paper. www.ncfr.org/sites/default/files/ncfr_white_paper_family_life_education.pdf

Organizations:

Tools:

Other Links (related to the class presentation):

Other links (related to Patrice’s certification)

OSU Extension Homebuyer Education Team

The Ohio State University Extension Homebuyer Education Team is pleased to celebrate a successful partnership with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.  The team will be co-presenting at the 2020 National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Virtual Annual Session.

A list of state housing finance agencies is available from the National Council of State Housing Agencies at this website: https://www.ncsha.org/housing-finance-agencies-list/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Evidence for asset building. (2011). MassINC. Retrieved 08/03/20 from https://massinc.org/2011/06/16/evidence-for-asset-building/

Housing Counseling through Cooperative Extension (2017). The Bridge: The Office of Housing Counseling Newsletter. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. VOLUME 5, ISSUE 9 MARCH 2017    https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/OHC_BRIDGE033017.PDF

Loibl, C., Durhan, J., and Moulton, S. (2018). Rich Opportunities from Collaboration with a State Housing Finance Agency. Journal of Extension. v56-7 iw5. Retrieved 08/03/20 from https://www.joe.org/joe/2018december/iw5.php

Myhre, M., and Elsasser Watson, N. (2017). Housing Counseling Works. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved from  https://www.huduser.gov/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/Housing-Counseling-Works.pdf

Moulton, S., Collins, J., Loibl, C., and Samek, A. (2014). Effects of monitoring on mortgage delinquency: Evidence from a randomized field study. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.21809

Sackett, C. (2016).  The Evidence on Homeownership Education and Counseling. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved 08/03/20 from https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/spring16/highlight2.html

OSU Extension Mindfulness In-Service 2020

For more information about the OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Mindful Wellness Program please visit the website. 

Agenda, Handouts and Links, August 20, 2020

As part of the 2020 Family and Consumer Sciences Professional Development Monthly In-services that have moved to a virtual platform, we are pleased to invite all OSU Extension staff to join our August Mindfulness In-Service. This In-Service will focus on the 2019 Mindful Wellness Curriculum, general resources, an on-your-own mindfulness activity, and experiences related to the broad topic of mindfulness. Mindfulness is applicable to OSU staff across all Extension program areas. Participants decided if they wanted to attend one, two, three, or all four of the August 20th sessions.

Description of Session 1: Introduction to Mindfulness, using the OSU Extension Mindful Wellness Curriculum 9:00AM-10:30AM

The Mindful Wellness curriculum (2019) is designed to equip healthy adults with practice and skills to strengthen the mind and body connection and promote holistic health and wellness across the lifespan. Participants in this session will participate in the one-hour Introduction to Mindfulness class and will learn more about the Mindful Wellness curriculum. For those who have previously attended a Mindful Wellness Curriculum training, the presentation will look familiar to what has been shared in the past but you are welcome to attend. We have found that we always learn something new about mindfulness even if it is an introduction lesson. Presenters: Melinda Hill, Marie Economos, Pat Holmes and Chris Kendle.

Description of Session 2: Mindfulness as a Tool During COVID-19, 11:00AM-12:00PM

Even before the arrival of COVID-19, stress had already been identified as a major health problem for Americans. Not only do we need to care for health and wellness when there is illness, but we also need to practice preventive care to stay well physically, mentally, and emotionally. Although we could never cover all of the resources related to mindfulness, this session will highlight some easily accessible, online, educational resources. They will be shared as timely tools for personal and professional use during this time of uncertainty. Presenters: Patrice Powers-Barker, Shari Gallup and Laura Stanton.

Description of Session 3: Mindful Afternoon Special – Your Choice

Do you remember “specials” in school like classes for art, physical education and music? We invite you to plan a mindfulness special today.  We know the days are busy, you need to fit things in and multitasking seems like the only option. We also know the benefits of practicing mindfulness. We invite you to use this time for personal mindfulness practice. We will share a list of ideas prior to the day, have an open zoom call (with music but no discussion or lesson) and then collect a list (via chat) of what our colleagues chose to do to practice mindfulness.

Description of Session 4: Mindfulness Panel, 2:00PM-3:30PM

In Mindful Foundations (one of the individual lessons within the Mindful Wellness curriculum series) instructors are encouraged to, “Open the class with a short example from your own mindfulness journey. This is so powerful for the class to understand the how and why of your passion for topic.” Join this session to learn from FCS colleagues who have found a mindfulness practice that works best for them. Practicing mindfulness offers not only personal benefits but can also increase professional excellence.

  • Some of our colleagues have previously shared about their mindfulness journeys via blog posts on Live Smart Ohio  (mind and body category)
  • Thank you Pat Bebo for moderating the panel. Panelists: Kathy Tutt, Shannon Carter, Patrice Powers-Barker with assistance by Laura Stanton.

Questions? The following professionals are on the 2020 Mindful Wellness Team and help with the planning and presentation of this in-service (all emails coming soon!)

Stacey Baker baker.782@osu.edu

Shannon Carter Carter.314@osu.edu

Marie Economos economos.2@osu.edu

Shari Gallup gallup.1@osu.edu

Whitney Gherman gherman.12@osu.edu

Misty Harmon harmon.416@osu.edu

Melinda Hill hill.14@osu.edu

Pat Holmes holmes.86@osu.edu

Chris Kendle kendle.4@osu.edu

Patrice Powers-Barker powers-barker.1@osu.edu

Roseanne Scammahorn scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Laura Stanton stanton.60@osu.edu

Michelle Treber treber.1@osu.edu

Kathy Tutt tutt.19@osu.edu

2020 Garden Call-In Show

As COVID-19 shut down early springtime opportunities to meet in person, OSU Extension Lucas County is fortunate to partner with other community organizations to offer information and support to gardeners. The Ebeid Institute, Urban Agriculture Alliance of Lucas County, and The Arts Commission are offering monthly garden call-in shows along with OSU Extension, Lucas.

The call-in show is on the second Tuesday of the month at 1:00 pm. Please follow these steps to join the call. Dial 1-512-626-6799. Enter 942-8492-0361. Press #. See below for the flyers and themes of upcoming and previous monthly calls.

For any questions about “how-to” garden (or about the Garden Call-In Show) please email lucascountymastergardener@gmail.com or call the Horticulture Hotline at 419-578-6783 (Monday and Wednesday 10 am – 1 pm)

To share this information with others: go.osu.edu/gardencall

Lucas Co Hort Hotline


August 11th – Fall Victory Gardening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victory Gardens – Let’s Grow Ohio #OhioVictoryGardens  u.osu.edu/OhioVictoryGardens/


July 14th – Fall Vegetable Gardening

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit here for charts on dates to plant fall vegetable seeds


June 9th – Gardening as a Self-Care Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gardening As Self Care Practice – Handout

Gardening as a Self-Care Practice, Live Smart Ohio Blog Post (06/18/20)


May 12, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guide to Growing Your Own Food, 2020 by Urban Agriculture Alliance (UAA) of Lucas County

Garden Call-in Show, May Call In agenda, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guidance for Community Gardens, COVID-19

 

Flower Power 2020

Experienced vegetable gardeners who start their own seeds indoors plant in February, depending on the type of plant. Depending on the gardener’s space and needs, they very likely may not use all of the seeds in the packet. What to do with the extra seeds? Some seeds can be saved for a few years, under ideal conditions. Early this spring, when Ohio started practicing social distancing, my friend shared that she had delivered extra seeds to her community’s little free library. What a great idea!

Here’s a springtime tip for novice gardeners. You are NOT behind schedule if you did not start your own seetomato seedlingsdlings months ago. We are so fortunate to have farmers and greenhouses in the area that can sell us beautiful seedlings for herbs, tomatoes, peppers, greens, etc. now that it is time to plant outside because the threat of frost is over. This year, because of the stay-at-home orders, I did start my own tomato seeds indoors. It is pretty exciting how a tiny little seed sprouts underground, in the dark and then grows into a plant. It’s almost like magic but it’s science!

This year I’m following my friend’s lead to share some seeds. In my example, it will be flower seeds. While respecting social distancing, I’m going to distribute some extra seeds from my seed packets.  There’s no way I would ever use the hundreds of seeds in a packet in my small growing space.  Just in case you don’t find any seeds at your neighborhood little free library, you should be able to find these seed packets at most local grocery or hardware stores that sell seeds. The following flowers are all bright, beautiful, and fairly easy to grow. Most of them are edible and most of them can grow in a container, a corner of the vegetable garden, or landscaped area of the yard. Below are photos and a link to an Extension document that will give more details on each plant.

  • Calendula is also known as a Pot Marigold. It can grow in the ground or a container. The leaves are edible. You can sprinkle the petals on top of your favorite food dishes.

 

 

 

  • Nasturtium the leaves and flowers add a peppery taste to your dish. They can be tossed in with salads. I think the plant is a little wild and whimsical.

 

 

  • Sunflowers come in all varieties. The most common packets of sunflower seeds at the store are for the large ones. If you have a packet of seeds for any tall or Mammoth sunflowers, these will not grow well in a container. For a container plant, you’ll need to look for dwarf varieties (although these are not as common at the stores. I’ve ordered my seeds online before). Obviously the seeds are edible for people and also well-loved by wildlife.

  • The Zinnia is not edible but it packs a punch in a homegrown bouquet. One year, my son came home from school with a cup of soil and a small plant. Somewhere between his lesson and home, either the label was lost or he forgot what they planted in class. Without knowing what it was, we transplanted it from the cup into the side yard and waited to see what it was. The tall pink zinnia plant is such a happy memory for me that I love to plant them now every year.

Since most young children were not in school at the end of this year and didn’t arrive home with an unlabeled seedling, I’m going to try to get seeds to children in my little corner of the world. I’d love to hear your garden plans and see photos this summer! Feel free to email powers-barker.1@osu.edu or follow our county office on Facebook at The Ohio State University Extension Lucas County.  Happy Spring!

 

 

Resources:

An Introduction to Seed Saving for the Home Gardener https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2750e/

Edible Flowers https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/edible-flowers-7-237/

Growing Sunflowers in the Home Garden

https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C1121&title=Growing%20Sunflowers%20in%20the%20Home%20Garden

How to Grow Calendula https://extension.unh.edu/resource/how-grow-calendula-calendula-officinalis

Little Free Library https://littlefreelibrary.org/

Nasturtium https://web.extension.illinois.edu/herbs/nasturtium.cfm

Planning for the Garden https://wayne.osu.edu/sites/wayne/files/imce/Program_Pages/ANR/Garden/Planning%20and%20Planting%20%20the%20Garden.pdf

Zinnia https://pddc.wisc.edu/2015/08/20/zinnias/

Ten Tips for Gardening with Children

  1. Start small. It’s OK to dream big and start small. Whether you grow in containers, in a school or community garden or in your front or back yard, make the best choices for you and your family’s growing space, interest and goals.
  2. Learn about plants. If you are new to gardening, or it’s been a few years, review some basic plant science. At the very minimum, all plants need light (sun), water (approximately an inch a week from rain or supplied by the gardener) and nutrients (from a healthy soil). For your benefit, learn about the plants you would like to grow, including knowing potential challenges and possible solutions. Know your local resources like the Horticulture Hotline for Lucas County. Keep safety in mind. This is always important but especially with young children who are inclined to “explore” by putting things in their mouth.
  1. Keep it simple! You don’t have to be an expert on gardening. Just like doing other new things with children, you get to learn together. If they have a question, talk it through and discover the answer. Use the resources listed above, children’s books and youth garden websites
  2. Decide on plants. What plants to grow? Gardens are as diverse as the people who grow them! You can grow whatever will work in your space and your kitchen. When gardening with youth, consider growing some radishes, sunflowers, cherry tomatoes and mini-gourds. Why? Radishes grow fast. Even if you or your kiddos don’t love radishes, they are one of the first vegetables to harvest. Sunflowers are bright and tall (or chose a small variety for smaller spaces) and edible! Miniatures like cherry tomatoes (for an easy snack) and mini-gourds (for fall decoration and crafts) are fun because they grow plentiful and are just the right size for smaller hands.
  3. Up-cycle household items for garden tools and supplies. Use kid-sized tools for planting and digging. Even spoons will work well when held in small hands. Before sending common household items to the recycling center, consider up-cycling them into garden tools. An empty milk jug can become a watering can or cut into a scoop for garden soil. Plastic knives can be used as plant labels and stuck in the ground.
  4. Keep chore time short. Make a game of weeding, or limit to five minutes. Watering (or water play) is usually the fun part of gardening, especially in the hot summer!
  5. Let them play. Follow their lead. If they’d rather play in the soil or look at bugs than pull weeds, it’s OK. They are still learning while playing.
  6. Let them have growing space. Give children their own spot or container to garden and let them grow their own way. A preschooler may want to plant and re-plant, dig and explore similar to a sandbox. Include containers with pebbles, sticks, seeds, small tools, and other garden-related items to explore. Set up a Mud Kitchen with bowls, buckets and plastic kitchen tools. For elementary-aged children, take a 4-H garden project or use a small space to create a miniature garden such as fairy garden or dinosaur garden.  In large garden spaces, create a play space by planting a Sunflower House and Beanpole Tepee. It is helpful to mulch wide paths to define the walking and playing space from the garden growing area. Add benches or straw bales for seating.
  7. Enjoy! Enjoy yourself and your fresh produce. It’s a great time to explore and learn together, reconnect with nature, observe daily changes and growth and prepare new recipes.
  8. Share your garden story and share your extra produce. Use social media to post your garden pictures, sneak a zucchini on your neighbor’s porch on August 8th and consider donating extra produce to a local emergency food pantry.

Links:

Using the Logic Model and Family Life Education Planning Wheel

On April 21, 2020, Ohio State University Extension Professionals will partner with the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) to present a webinar on Using the Logic Model and the Planning Wheel to Strengthen Communication, Planning, and Assessment of Family Life Education Programs. To learn more about the webinar and to register, please visit NCFR’s page.

This webpage will share the links to resources noted in the webinar presentation. Presenter bios and emails at the end of this page.

Logic Model

Family Life Education Framework

Extension

Additional Resources

References

Bredehoft, D.J., & Walcheski, M.J., Eds. (2011). Family Life Education Framework Poster and PowerPoint – 3rd. Ed. Minneapolis, MN: National Council on Family Relations.

Bredehoft, D.J., & Walcheski, M.J. (2009). Family life education: Integrating theory and practice. Minneapolis, MN: National Council on Family Relations.

Clarke, J. I, (1984). Who, Me Lead a Group? Seattle, WA: Parenting Press, Inc.

Gravel, E. (nd). Diverse Families. Retrieved April 14, 2020 from http://elisegravel.com/en/blog/diverse-families/

Keller, A., & Bauerle, J. A. (2009).  Using a logic model to relate the strategic to the tactical in program planning and evaluation:  An illustration based on social norms interventions.  American Journal of Health Promotion, 24, 89-92.

Myers-Walls, J. A., Ballard, S. M., Darling, C. A. and Myers-Bowman, K. S. (2011). Reconceptualizing the Domain and Boundaries of Family Life Education. Family Relations, 60, 357–372.

National Council on Family Relations – What is Family Life Education. https://www.ncfr.org/cfle-certification/what-family-life-education

University of Wisconsin – Extension, Program Development and Development, Logic Model. https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/programdevelopment/logic-models/

Presenter Bios

Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, is an Ohio State University Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) in Lucas County, Toledo, Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University and a bachelor’s degree from Hiram College. She works with families on topics including wellness, food safety, household budgeting, mindfulness, local foods, and universal design. Beyond using her Certified Family Life Educator credential to directly reach families in her community, she is also interested in encouraging other professionals to recognize the value of their work with families. She has worked with teams to make useful and meaningful connections between the FCS profession and resources from NCFR, and she serves on the Ohio Council for Family Relations Board of Directors.  Powers-barker.1@osu.edu

Katie Schlagheck, CFLE, started in June 2014 as the FCS educator in a split position with Sandusky County and Ottawa County for the Ohio State University. She also serves on the Ohio Council for Family Relations Board of Directors. She holds a master’s degree in human development and family studies from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in human development from Washington State University. In her professional role, she is always on the lookout for new partnerships and collaborations in order to strengthen programming in the community. schlagheck.11@osu.edu

Jim Bates, Ph.D., is a tenured associate professor and extension Field Specialist of Family Wellness in the FCS program area of Ohio State University Extension. He holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Human Sciences in the Human Development and Family Sciences program area. He holds a doctoral degree in child and family studies from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in developmental studies from Purdue University, and a bachelor’s degree in marriage, family, and human development from Brigham Young University. He has taught courses in family relations; family life program design, implementation, and evaluation; parenting; intergenerational relationships; and research methods and applied statistics. He has formed partnerships with community outreach organizations to evaluate programs and has consulted on a multi-state, multi-year projects. His program themes as a Specialist in Family Wellness with Ohio State University Extension are intergenerational family relationships; family resiliency; and Family Life Education program design, implementation, evaluation, and analysis. bates.402@osu.edu

Meal Prep for Busy Times

It is possible to plan and eat nutritious meals and snacks during busy times. When it comes to planning, preparing and serving meals, one size never fits all.  However, the planning process can be helpful for everyone. What are some things that you need to take into consideration for menu planning? How many people are you serving? Are there any specific dietary needs?  Where will you be serving the meals (at the table, on the go, etc.)? What does your schedule look like?

A few reminders:

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef nor do you need to spend the whole day in the kitchen to eat a healthy meal or snack. If you want to brush up on some basic kitchen skills, Utah has a series of “Create Better Health” instructions for creating your own basic types of meals such as Create a Pizza or Create a Stir Fry. The Canned Food Alliance has a chart to show how “Just Add One” additional ingredient to popular dishes can add nutrition, value, convenience and taste. Obviously they are sharing about canned food but the same concept can be used for frozen and fresh foods as well. For example, once spring arrives, I am happy to “just add one” fresh herbs like chopped chives to garnish to our dishes to add taste and make them look gourmet.

  • Create a two to four-week menu cycle. Although my example isn’t the same as day-to-day plans at home, it dawned on me a few years ago that I can use the same meal plan, cooler packing list and shelf stable ingredients for all our camping trips. Sure, it’s the same meals but we only camp a couple times of year so not only does no one mind the same menu, they actually look forward to those favorite camp meals. I have also brought a few of those menus “home” by adding foil pack meals on the grill to our regular household summer menu plan. (see Grill below)
  • Keep your plan, ingredients and favorite kitchen and travel tools (for on-the-go meals) easily accessible.

Food Preparation and Planning Ideas

 

Basic Back Ups

What are some meals you can pull together in ten minutes or less? You probably already have some ideals that work for you. These are the examples of shelf stable food that you keep on hand for those times to text or ask “whoever is home first” to pull together quickly. One example: 3 can chili + crackers + cheese + dried fruit. These ingredients (other than cheese) can be stored together on a shelf. Need some additional ideas for easy, quick meals? Try these Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. 

If you have it, use it!

Having different kitchen appliances can offer some advantages but that doesn’t mean that you need any new equipment. What kitchen appliances or tools do you already own that can help make meal preparation easier?

  • Grill. Make up foil packets of your favorite protein and vegetables.
  • Waffle Maker. As the author of this Grilled Cheese Wafflewich (sandwich) pointed out, “I don’t really want to buy a sandwich press – I already have too many kitchen appliances.”

Food Safety for Food on the Go

A few tips about meals that aren’t eaten in the house. These might be meals that individuals take to work or school or they might be meals like picnics or dinner on the run. Some food is safe without a cold source like whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and vegetables, hard cheese, canned meat and fish, breads, crackers and chips, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and pickles.

The Two-Hour Rule. Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.

The following tips on keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot are from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA. Freezing sandwiches helps them stay cold. For best quality add mayonnaise, lettuce, or tomatoes later (they don’t freeze well)

The following tips are for individual lunch bags verses a large cooler:

  • Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold, but pack at least two ice sources with perishable food in any type of lunch bag or box you use.
  • To keep lunches cold away from home, include at least two cold sources.
  • You can use two frozen gel packs (not smaller than 5×3-inches each) or combine a frozen gel pack with a frozen juice box or frozen bottle of water. Freeze gel packs or drinks overnight.
  • When packing, place frozen items on top and bottom of the perishable food items to keep them cold.
  • If there’s a refrigerator available, place your insulated bag in the refrigerator and leave the lid or bag open so that cold air can keep the food cold.

Use an insulated container to keep food like soup, chili, and stew hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Keep the insulated container closed until mealtime to keep the food hot — 140 °F (73.9 °C) or above.

Handwashing

Ideal conditions: wash hands with warm water and soap, lather and scrub hands and fingers for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.

If running water is not accessible:

Cleaning and Sanitizing, handout and research on using common bleach, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to sanitize kitchen surfaces.

Recipes

While the busiest times might not be the best times to try out new recipes, these are just a few examples of websites that share recipes that are easy, nutritious, tasty, and economical:

Additional Resources from Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences

Message to Future Self blog post describes, “Planning this way allows me to see which days should be a slow cooker meal, which evenings we can cook together in the kitchen, and which nights are going to be a creative use of leftovers” and shares links to templates and menu idea inspirations.

Making Your Own Convenience Foods Factsheet. Tips and suggestions for planning and preparing parts of meals ahead of time can make you feel in control as you start your day.

Sometimes busy times are also stressful times. By eating a healthier diet we may reduce our risk of chronic inflammation and diseases.

Thank you also to Amanda Bohlen for her 2018,  Stress Less with Meal Prep. Count CALM Down for the Holidays Challenge Week 3 Message 1, Live Healthy Live Well, Ohio State University Extension.