KS Sustainable Industry Development Strategy Consultant Leanne Kami and son Zane make ʻUlu pizza using ‘Ulu flour and fresh mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers and basil straight from the garden.
October is national Eat Together, Eat Better Month. Research shows that families that eat together regularly have better eating habits, fewer behavioral problems and reduced stress levels. Here are some tips on how to encourage smart eating habits and source and prepare local meals and snacks to help you eat together, eat better, all year long.
With busy schedules it can be challenging to eat regularly together as a family. Think about the obstacles that get in the way of your family eating more meals together. Getting organized and planning ahead can help. For some families, dedicating space on the family calendar or clearing physical spaces from clutter at the kitchen table are simple ways to increase opportunities to eat together.
Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks
Eating seasonally is a great way to increase variety and introduce new foods to your family. Eating what’s locally in season not only ensures that you are getting the freshest, best-tasting produce, at the peak of ripeness and nutrition, but also helps support our local farmers and communities. For more information, check out this Buy Local It Matters Seasonality Chart.
Involve kids in the process
Make eating together fun. Plan meals together or let keiki help with prepping, cooking or setting the table. Older keiki can shop for groceries or be in charge of cooking a meal themselves. Cultural meals or themes like Pāʻina Pōʻalima or Taco Tuesdays are another great way to keep things fun. Also a change of scenery like eating outside or having an indoor picnic are fun activities for young children.
Plant a garden
Studies show that children who participate in garden activities demonstrate healthier behaviors such as increased fruit and vegetable consumption and increased physical activity. When families get involved, the results are even better. New to gardening? No space? Start small with pots or containers or create a square-foot garden.
When you find a recipe the whole family loves, make sure to save it. Your family may already have some favorite recipes passed down through generations. Here are some recipe resources to add to your collection:
Visiting a farm or shopping at a food hub or farmers market are other activities that support eating better together. KS stewards more than 181,000 acres of agricultural land across Hawai‘i and farmers on KS land grow a variety of crops and raise livestock, producing nearly 19 million pounds of food each year. Here are some resources to help source local products and support farms in your area.
Food-A-Go-Go. Information on restaurants open for takeout, delivery or curbside pickup. You can browse farmers markets and local growers selling fresh produce, alongside value-added producers.
Edible HI guide. An island-by-island listing of farm tours, locally sourced farmers markets, community supported agriculture and food hubs.
Learn more about KS’ role in supporting Hawaiʻi’s local food system here.
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