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Nourishing Tips & Recipes

It Takes a Village to Feed a Family

Our ancestors depended on a large community of friends, family and neighbors to make their lives work. Our modern day fences are higher and lives more independent, but we need each other now as much as ever. Having kids made me reach out more often; I just couldn’t gracefully manage it all with out a little help from my friends and family. Here are some suggestions to help build community around healthy eating. It makes life easier and more enjoyable when you share the responsibility and the wealth.

Call from the market

Have a friend, neighbor or family member that you see regularly? Start a tradition of calling each other from the market to see what ingredients the other needs. When you are little low on fresh food or ideas for dinner, nothing is more exciting than getting a call from someone saying “Hey, I’m at the market, what can I pick up for you?!”

Join forces

Is there another family that lives close by that strives to eat healthy food? Share the responsibility sometimes. On short notice you can decide to join forces for dinner. It goes like this: “Hey Sally, I’m really not feeling like making dinner tonight- we have leftover veggie Chili and lettuce, but that’s it”. “Well Jane I just roasted a chicken and have fresh salad fixins- should we combine our efforts and come over at 6:00?”. Don’t worry that the kids are covered in paint and bedtime is fast approaching; you are just two busy families sharing food and good company~ it’s refreshing to just keep it simple. Plus, picky eaters tend to enjoy food out of their comfort zone when eating with a bigger group. You can also apply this idea as a “dinner trade”- ex. one Wednesday at our house, next one at yours.

Out of ideas? Call a friend.

I certainly have made this phone call from the market a number of times (and keep in mind I love cooking and have many recipes stored in my brain) “Traci- I can’t think of one thing to make for dinner tonight- nada! Tell me what I should do and I’m doin’ it”. And if you are on the receiving end of this call, fear not that your ideas are boring because your basic “go-to” dinner idea is usually different than your friends.

Lunch groups

I was introduced to this awesome idea while in medical school. Students with similar eating styles would team together in groups of 5 and share the responsibility of bringing lunch for the rest. This is how it works: 5 people are in a group (this can work for school lunches too!) and each week-day one person provides lunch for the other four. So, 4 days a week you don’t even have to think about what you are going to bring to lunch!

Potlucks & Sunday Soup Night

A friend of ours lives in a neighborhood that has a Sunday soup night. They have one gigantic pot and people share the responsibility of providing soup for the group. Others bring bread or some side dishes. Pot-lucks are another great idea of making one dish and sharing with a group of like- minded friends or neighbors. Themed potlucks are fun! for example; “local food”, “Vegetarian”, “Colorful” or even “Childhood Favorites” (warning: this last one is very fun but will make for some really weird/unhealthy dishes like my friend Gabe’s favorite food: “white bread butter balls dipped in honey”.) Find some other folks that are eating healthy food (or want to) and plan a monthly gathering.

Stop bringing crap to work and parties

I hear this all the time. “ I do alright but there is SO MUCH junk at the office; I can’t control myself”. We feel a freedom to make extra baked goods or buy less-than-healthy items at the store because the extras can just be sent to work or to a gathering, as if that doesn’t count. Start a “no crap” policy at work, at home and at parties because no one is benefiting from it. (I am not against sweet treats at all- and there’s lots of healthy desserts, but donuts just aren’t gonna cut it!).

Share the wealth

Going to a U-pick farm to fill your freezer with berries or something else exciting (tomatoes, corn, peaches…)? Pick some extra for your inner circle. Next time it will be you going home with your hands full of someone else’s harvest.

Share your ideas with the Nourish Me family

Do you have ideas to build community around healthy eating? Please email me with “It takes a village” in the subject line and I will compile the greatest hits to post next season.

With excitement for the community and abundance that summer brings,

Erika Siegel N.D.

With excitement for the community and abundance that summer brings,

Erika Siegel N.D.


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