How do we solve the problem of nutrition in the U.S. when overworked parents’ main option is easy and cheap (not to mention excellent tasting) fast food? FeedingTheAccelerator’s Heather Jonasson looks at how to feed a family without losing your health.
These days with both parents working long hours and kids in after-school activities, many things get put to the side, especially proper nutrition. I know how it is at the end of a long day at work, driving with a car full of kids dressed in mud covered jackets you’ll have to wash tonight to get them clean by tomorrow, thinking about how you’re supposed to buy snacks for the soccer team, get gas in the car, and attend the parent meeting later tonight. The kids see the golden arches and beg (or repeatedly whine) for you to drive through the burger place on the way home, and it’s easy to give-in to the simple solution and tell yourself you will make up for it later, which you may never find the time to do.
Another part of the problem is that for those who have time to cook, the healthy options at the grocery store are much more expensive than the less-than-nutritious options. As a poor college student, I would have loved some fresh fruit, but had to do with a diet of breadsticks and cheese. When you have a large family and have many rising costs, it’s difficult to buy fresh vegetables and salads when the giant box of powdered mashed potatoes and ready-made sausage products are half the price.
Many tech companies are currently working on addressing this problem. New apps are being developed to increase awareness and provide solutions to healthy eating. The Italian company Ratatouille allows people to share and give away surplus food from their garden or to clean out their fridge and give the food to those who can use it before leaving on a long vacation. Perhaps you bought too much of something that will expire soon. One of your neighbors or a person in your town would be greatly helped by the extra food.
There are also companies like Cookisto, which caters to those with a busy lifestyle who don’t have time to prepare a nutritious meal for themselves or their families. This service allows people to find delicious and personalized healthy food prepared by home cooks. This is yet another way to reach out and connect through food and technology.
One of the best ideas that has a good chance of becoming huge is the grocery delivery service. So many of these have sprung up in the past few years and interest is growing. With grocery delivery Internet services such as Peapod, Instacart, and large grocery store chains also offering home delivery, families will have more time and opportunity to eat in a healthier way. Meals can be planned and time can be saved by simply ordering online during spare time.
My family subscribed to one of these grocery delivery services that bring you the ingredients for five nutritious meals a week plus recipes. It’s an excellent idea but the recipes were a bit time-consuming after a long day. With more planning, simpler recipes and freezable meals, it might have worked out better.
These breakthroughs help to solve the problem of convenience, but we still have a way to go before we even the numbers between the cost and time of healthy food and cheap processed food.
Heather is an authentic Texas girl, a severe foodie and an overworked parent. She is the twitter expert at FeedingThe Accelerator. You can follow her at @FeedAccelerator and @heatheraudrey