Pardon the long break from blogging! Life got crazy but I’ll looking forward to getting back in the swing of things and have lots of fun posts coming! Here is the last installment about food from Laken Nix of Peach and Humble perfect to get us ready for a season of meals around the table with those we love!
Today I’ll be sharing a few more simple and sustainable habits for creating a culture of happiness and wellness in your kitchen. So far I’ve shared thoughts on nourishing your body and nourishing your heart, and today is all about nourishing your people.
My principle food philosophy, above all else, is this: Food is never more important than people. That’s why I will never judge you for what’s in your cabinets or what you serve at your dinner table. That’s why I will eat whatever is passed around while I’m a guest in someone’s home. And while I believe part of my purpose is to educate and empower women to make real food that nourishes their bodies, I believe that the bigger picture is to set them free from all of the pressure we associate with food.
When I think of creating a happy and well-functioning kitchen, I don’t think first of the food on my counters. I think of the people who will eat at my table. I want them to feel full and content. I want them to feel safe and comforted. I want their hearts and their bodies to be nourished.
1. Plan ahead, so you can be fully present.
Meal planning is admittedly hard for me. I’ve slowly started figuring out what works for me and for my family, and I’m sure it will change one hundred times over. But the lesson I keep learning again and again is when I don’t plan, I can’t recover. When I haven’t planned our week of meals, I spend my time worrying about what to cook, clicking through the entire internet for a recipe and running to the store to get what we don’t have. And that’s all before I’ve even clicked on the oven. But when I do plan, it removes the questioning and the worry, which removes the pressure and the frazzled feelings. When I plan ahead, I can be fully present with my husband in the evenings, which not only makes me feel calmer, it makes him feel more loved and attended to.
And you can still be spontaneous with a meal plan. There are still plenty of nights when we throw in the dish towel for a restaurant dinner, or when we veer off course because we’re not in the mood for what’s on the menu. But the plan provides a steady baseline, which is a much-appreciated comfort.
One of the overarching themes of food and family life is nostalgia. I know we can all remember certain foods or meals that our families always shared, even if it was a rare occasion. Traditions bond friends and families together like no other, and even the simplest of meals can become traditions. I believe that it’s this bonding that creates that feeling of being cared for in the hearts of the people we’re feeding.
Meal traditions can be easy. In fact, it’s probably better that they are. If you want to create a tradition of an expensive and elaborate meal every week, you might not be able to sustain it very long. Think pizza every Friday night — maybe sometimes it’s homemade, sometimes it isn’t — or waffles every Saturday morning. Make them as frequent or as infrequent as you want. (And bonus: a recurring meal tradition makes it that much easier when it’s time to plan meals for the week or month.)
3. Think of how you want them to feel.
It’s easy to get distracted by all of the conflicting information out there about food and nutrition. It’s easy to worry about what you’re buying and how much you’re spending, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes. But at the end of the day, what’s most important to the people you’re feeding is how they felt when they got up from the table.
I think we could all use less pressure and more grace in our lives, especially when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families. So if you need a permission slip, here it is. Try not to let yourself get caught up in the nutritional facts or the calorie count of a meal that you miss what the people at your table really need. And try not to get caught up in trying to make your plate as pretty as a picture that you miss what the person across from you really looks like today.
Maybe the meal will be amazing, or maybe it won’t. Maybe your husband will ask for it over and over again, or maybe he’ll barely clean his plate. Maybe your kids will drop it on the floor or maybe you’ll realize that you just really don’t like curry. But I think all of these things are secondary. What’s most important is that everyone sitting down to eat together feels like they were heard and like they were cared for.
Laken is a writer and mentor living in the deep south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is passionate about making wellness a real and attainable thing in the lives of women — in a non-preachy, totally-manageable, real-life kind of way. Laken shares about real food and creating a good life at home over on her blog, Peach and Humble.
Pretty photos are from Lexington Company.