Green Being
Acorn Squash & Grilled Cauliflower

Improving Food Literacy for Personal Success

How to Make a Plan to Eat More Seasonally this Fall

There is a connection between what we know about food, how to prepare it, and the quality of our diets. Our food literacy, therefore, may predict our own confidence in knowing what to prepare, which ingredients to select at the store, and how to best store our food at home. Not to mention, once we do all this, we still have to prepare the food. With some wishing, hoping and a prayer, we may actually make something that we enjoy eating.

Self-confidence in the kitchen is likely a huge predictor as to whether or not we choose to stock our refrigerators and pantries with whole, plant-based foods. Not to mention that self-confidence will also determine whether or not we actually make something with these ingredients.

But what if we are still on the fence about even getting started using our diets to tackle climate change? What, then, are good strategies for getting motivated and improving our food literacy?

Focus on Natural Consequences

There is plenty of ominous news signaling for what will happen if we do not begin making significant changes. While the negative ramifications of global climate change are important, what are of some the positive outcomes from choosing to reduce our consumption of processed and animal-based foods?

Some individuals report having higher personal productivity, but there are also other positive health benefits from consuming plant-based foods.

Perhaps you are considering making changes to the foods you eat, or you have resolved to cook more meals at home. Maybe you want to improve your cooking skills. By focusing on the good things that will result from making those choices, you are already beginning to build the positive mentality for making lasting lifestyle change.

Addition Not Subtraction

Choosing to eat more plant-based foods does not mean giving something up. It is possible to create fulfilling and flavorful meals from entirely plant-based foods. For example, hosting a football gameday watch party or tailgate often conjures memories of a hearty bowl of chili. You may think that this food is a complete impossibility when consuming plant-based foods, and therefore it is something we can never have. But by focusing on addition (not subtraction), we can add new ingredients to our diets, such as tempeh, in order to make tempeh and red bean chili instead.

Plant-based foods contain fiber, which makes us feel full and satiated. By adding more fruits and vegetables to our daily meals, there is little room for less nutritious foods. Beyond that, making the change is about adding foods and recipes that make you feel good. We should be inspired by the traditions and memories from our own lives.

Set Goals and Make a Plan

The first step to committing to making change is choosing something that you want to work on. By making smaller, incremental changes you are more likely to build self-efficacy as you embark on your plant-based journey.

For example, you may decide that you want to eat more seasonally this Fall by choosing ingredients that are ready for market this time of year. In order to accomplish this, focus on these four areas for success.

1. Planning:

Sounds simple enough, right? Take the time to learn about which foods are available in your area and the kinds of meals you can make with them. In this time of year, you will see a combination of late summer produce such as tomatoes, corn, and fresh chiles and cool season produce like kale, spinach, cabbage, and winter squash. Make a plan to purchase them by going to your local farmer’s market, grocery, or subscribe to a produce delivery service such as Imperfect Foods.

2. Selection:

Choose foods that inspire your curiosity and the ones you enjoy. Which recipes will help you to prepare for the work week and inspire you to pack lunch rather than eating out?

3. Prep & Cooking:

We all have long days at work, or we come home and just do not have the energy to put dinner together. These nights can be tough, but there are solutions to the middle-of-the-week doldrums. Something as simple as roasting Brussels sprouts, apples, and walnuts together in a baking pan while steaming brown rice require very little time to prepare. Plus, they utilize methods that will allow you to put your feet up and relax while they cook.

4. Eating:

This is the fun part right? After all you have spent the time to make a plan, choose great tasting ingredients, stock the fridge, and prepare a wholesome meal. Now, it is time to enjoy what you have made and take satisfaction in accomplishing your goal. With enough repetition, the process becomes routine, and your confidence in the kitchen will grow.

Sources:

Ashton, Sharkey, Whatnall, Williams, Bezzina, Aguiar, … Hutchesson. (2019). Effectiveness of Interventions and Behaviour Change Techniques for Improving Dietary Intake in Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of RCTs. Nutrients, 11(4), 825. doi: 10.3390/nu11040825

Begley, A., Paynter, E., Butcher, L., & Dhaliwal, S. (2019). Effectiveness of an Adult Food Literacy Program. Nutrients, 11(4), 797. doi: 10.3390/nu11040797

Hollywood, L., Surgenor, D., Reicks, M., Mcgowan, L., Lavelle, F., Spence, M., … Dean, M. (2017). Critical review of behaviour change techniques applied in intervention studies to improve cooking skills and food skills among adults. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 58(17), 2882–2895. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1344613[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.