“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”― Anna Lappe
Experimenting in the kitchen is a great way to the pass the time, but I think we can all agree that its nice to “take a night off” from cooking every now and again. Since heading out to a trendy farm-to-table restaurant isn’t an option right now, let’s take a look at few of your next-best options – and how you can ensure what you’re picking up is both nutritious and delicious.
1) Meal Prep Kits: If you’re ordering meal prep kits from popular brands, look out for key food marketing words and terms such as fresh, healthy, all-natural, low calories, high protein. These adjectives are often thrown around to grab your attention, but might not always be an accurate description of what’s in the box. Be sure to check labels and cooking methods for sneaky ingredients. (I wrote about ingredients to look out for in a blog titled – 4 ingredients to look out for in so-called “healthy” foods.)
2) Take-out or Delivery: This pandemic is NOT an excuse for hitting up fast-food drive-thrus. Instead, order take-out or meal kits from restaurants who support local farmers. By ordering from them, you’re keeping both the restaurant and the farms in business. An added bonus is that when you eat foods that are local and sustainable, you’re eating more nutritionally dense foods without the pesticides. And when you buy local, you’re supporting small businesses that enrich our communities and help to keep money in the local economy.
3) Easy Farm-to-Table orders: Many famers are getting creative and convenient. When recently ordering from my local farmers, I got pre-washed micro greens, ready-to-cook whole grains, freshly baked sourdough bread, local honey, frozen bone broth and even some artisan pierogis. Reach out to your local farmers, bakers and artisans and see what delicious foods they have to offer. I’d also recommend getting on a list for a seasonal veggie box (also known as a CSA box). They’re a really easy way to get vegetables delivered right to your door (or nearby pick-up point), and many are becoming increasingly customizable – I’ve even added a weekly flower bouquet to mine!
However you choose to source your meals during this time, make sure you’re eating food that’s good for you, good for the planet and good for the local economy.
When this is all over, whatever that means, the big box grocery stores that can afford to invest millions of dollars into marketing are going to be around (we obviously need them for all that toilet paper). But if we want local businesses to survive – like the independent restaurants that give our neighbourhoods character and the sustainable farms that give us nutritious foods and regenerate our soil – then we need to vote with both our dollars and our forks.
We’re embarking on a new normal. It’s time we realize that supporting local matters today more than ever.