Living a fast-paced life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good food and family time

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Living a fast paced life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good food and family time

Casa Visco’s Adine Viscusi lets us in on her secrets to staying healthy and connected with your kids

SCHENECTADY, NY (January 5, 2017) – Many of us are constantly on the lookout for quick and healthy ways to make sure our families are fed well on a regular basis. Adine Viscusi, president of Casa Visco, a leading national manufacturer of tomato sauces, says forget about those meal kits you see online to save time, or dining out and opt instead for meals at home. She has a few words of practical advice and some great homemade meal planning tips for those of us on the go 24/7.

Viscusi believes that in today’s technology-driven world, it’s vitally important to gather round the family table instead of habitually going out to eat. She also points out that many of the meal in a box kits that you can order online tend to be somewhat expensive, and they also create big carbon footprints with all of the packaging they contain.

Why not establish a nice tradition with your family? It’s the ideal time to talk, reflect on the day, and literally check in with each other. Studies show that kids do better in school when they routinely sit down for a family meal. In addition, people tend to eat less healthy when dining out, restaurant food tends to be more fatty and saltier. Not to mention the menu options. Who’s going to pass up ordering nachos or French fries? Restaurants can be a great place to celebrate special events, we love to eat out too, and sometimes it is a great convenience.

“I always ask myself when eating out: is this for convenience sake or a special occasion? If it is for convenience, then there’s no reason not to order healthy options, but if it’ a special occasion, you should order what you want and make it a special treat. I guarantee that it’s much more cost efficient to eat at home, you can control the fat, the salt and the content – every meal is a choice,” said Viscusi.

According to NY Magazine, from 2015-2016 Americans spent more money at bars and restaurants than they did on actual groceries for the first time in history. A number of factors contributed to this shift, but the fact remains that we continue to move away from traditional family customs and values.

So, let’s get back to basics. Here are some meal planning ideas which Viscusi says are ideal for preparing in advance to be eaten at a later date.

Obviously, Crock-Pot dishes are great, you can make larger quantities so there are plenty of leftovers for second meals and lunches.

It’s also beneficial to establish a routine time that works for you to prepare 2/3/4 meals at once in anticipation for the next few days.  For Viscusi, that day is Sunday. She recommends planning ahead and also considering the option of having groceries delivered, or arranging grocery pickups; as most supermarkets have curbside service. When you create a routine shopping list at a market, it makes reordering that much easier. “It’s also good to involve the family in meal planning, find out what the kids want to eat. Encourage participation in all of it from beginning to end: creating the menu(s), doing the shopping, meal preparation, cooking and cleaning – these are life skills,” said Viscusi.

For those of you with incredibly busy family schedules full of sports, dance, homework, etc. here’s some more suggestions for achieving healthy eating and balance.

Set regular meal times, and if someone cannot be there save them a plate. Also, take the time to sit down while your kids and/or spouse finally return home and have the opportunity to eat. Viscusi also suggests having healthy snacks in the car for in-between meals or before practice(s) like fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, rolled up turkey. She keeps a small cooler in the car for when her family is going to be racing around town.

Viscusi also suggests having healthy snacks in the car for in-between meals or before practice(s) like fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, rolled up turkey. She keeps a small cooler in the car for when her family is going to be racing around town.

Another point Viscusi makes is to not stress over using organic food products, locally-sourced or non-gmo when trying to plan out meals in advance, Instead, it’s best to focus on balancing meals and eating in moderation. Aim toward incorporating mostly plants in the menu, like two-three vegetables/fruits each meal, and lean protein should really be considered a side dish, not the main event.

Remember, sharing meals together is vitally important in keeping families feeling more connected.

You can also incorporate some mealtime rules such as no phones, and no screens at the table. Encourage everyone to talk, and socially engage with each other in person. “Show your kids how conversation works; you ask each other about their day, what was the good part, where was a challenge and how did they cope,” said Viscusi.

Meals are also key times when families can make plans together. You can identify what’s coming up on the calendar and how the family can look forward to it.  It’s also a nice relaxed time for parents to talk with their kids about what’s going on in the world, at school, with their sports teams/clubs, and their peers.  “This is a good time to model behavior that we want our kids to learn; manners, conversation, and grace,” said Viscusi.

For more information please visit: www.casavisco.com