Pandemic meal preparation: How parents are coping with kids at home
(BPT) - In March, parents across the country had life flipped upside down. All of a sudden, they had to figure out how to work from home, guide their kids through e-learning, prepare more meals and manage the other regular duties of parenting. Little did these parents know that all those stressors would return in the fall.
Three-fourths of America’s school children were engaged in some form of e-learning in late September, leaving the burden of food preparation on parents for almost every meal. According to a new Castle Wood Reserve consumer survey, seven in ten K-12 students get breakfast at home, while 66% get lunch from home and 74% get snacks at home.
Because of the demand to cook and eat at home more frequently, about one-third of parents said meal preparation is more difficult this school year than it was last year. Parents also cited food availability and the challenge of planning meals as top reasons that meal preparation is more difficult.
The coming months are not going to be any easier on parents. With COVID-19 case counts rising across the country, even more school districts are transitioning to full-time virtual learning. Parents are seeking convenient, delicious solutions that save them time in the kitchen.
Cargill’s Castle Wood Reserve brand is working to satisfy kids on each end of the K-12 spectrum. Cargill chefs have developed an array of quick and easy recipes with time-saving tips. Parents can make roast beef cheeseburger sliders, Monte Cristo rollups or ranch chicken club rollups for their younger kids and offer waffle toasted ham and cheese or a pizza melt to their older kids, who can handle a simple five- or ten-minute meal prep on their own.
Deli meats can also be used to vary your snack routine. Simple snack recipes, like pretzel bites with ham or melon and ham skewers, can be a fun snack time change of pace for kids and help keep them satiated.
Consumers can find a variety of deli meats and premium snack kits at their local retail stores that can make any meal convenient and provide the protein to keep kids full and energized throughout the day. In the survey, for most dayparts, parents cited protein as the most important nutrient that they seek for their kids.
According to the USDA Dietary Reference, the recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight as part of a balanced diet. So, someone who weighs 120 pounds needs about 43 grams of protein each day.
Why is it important to achieve an adequate intake of daily protein? Protein helps repair cells, boosts energy and keeps us satiated longer, so kids are not constantly asking for another snack. Protein also serves a vital function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
With health and convenience in mind, parents are making the most drastic changes to their lunches and snacks. Three-fourths of parents in the survey reported that lunches in their household had been impacted by returning to school, and 68% said that snacking had been affected.
Planning these meals ahead of time can be a lifesaver for time-crunched parents. Consumers should map out daily meal choices based on activities and school schedules for the week. When students are at home for e-learning, parents can assemble bento boxes or pre-packaged meals, leave them in the refrigerator and allow their kids to grab them once they are hungry.
Smart shoppers will also plan meals before getting groceries and stick to the outside perimeter of the store to purchase fresh ingredients, including vegetables, fruit and lean meats. Creating a shopping game plan leads to healthier meals, while saving time and money. This approach will eliminate extra trips to grab takeout or fast food, while diversifying your cooking routine at home to keep everyone in the family excited for mealtime.
Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices. Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.
Refresh Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options
(Family Features) Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed children consume an unhealthy amount of added sugar every day. Researchers found nearly all of the toddlers in their study ate an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar daily – the equivalent of a candy bar. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Small children have small stomachs,” said Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, which care for more than 165,000 children around the country every day. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar. When children consume lots of sugar, their palates get used to overly sweet flavors. They may not accept other, less sugary flavors or learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fresh fruit.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the consumption of added sugar for children under the age of 2. Children ages 2-18 should aim for less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.
For families that want to cut down on the amount of added sugar in their diets, Hines recommends cooking more at home, relying less on processed, packaged foods and serving only water or milk for beverages.
Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.
Swap Out Syrup
For more ideas to introduce your children to healthy habits from a young age, visit kindercare.com.SOURCE:
Every year, more than 2,200 children die from injuries that occur at home, according to estimates from Safe Kids Worldwide. While every parent knows that accidents can and do happen, there are many areas of the home where some preventive steps can help reduce the risk.
Protect Your Kids at Home
Find more tips for safer living at eLivingToday.com.
5 Ways to Protect Your Family in 2017
Protecting your family and loved ones is one of your most important responsibilities. Many people think about protection in terms of physical acts, such as practicing safe driving, but there are many more aspects of your lifestyle and home that affect your loved ones’ safety.
Protect your family’s financial health
Ensure your family is breathing safe air
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can go undetected in homes until it is too late. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in America, and claims the lives of nearly 21,000 Americans each year.
Know your own health status
Protect the home of your loved ones
Safeguard your family from fire hazards
Keep your loved ones safe and find more ways to protect your family at MyExamOne.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (mother, daughter, father with tablet)
Photo courtesy of ExamOne (couple with laptop)SOURCE:
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