NEWMARKET – In today’s fast-paced world where everyone is trying to beat the clock, York Region Public Health nutritionists urge you to reconsider meal times as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy traditional food and lively conversation.
After a long day at work, it can be comforting to come home to a store-bought, ready-made pot roast, where all you have to do is press “start” on the microwave oven. Add some pre-seasoned garlic bread that requires only a few minutes of toasting and a bagged salad with dressing and an entire dinner is prepared within minutes.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Everyone is busy and who has time to prepare meals from scratch? In fact, food companies make this laborious chore easier for us by promoting pre-cooked, pre-seasoned foods.
However, there is a counter movement to this reliance on fast, pre-cooked and processed food which is gaining in popularity. Referred to as “Slow Food”, the goal of this organization is to protect the pleasures of food. The “Slow Food” association promotes cultural foods, traditional cultivation techniques and local farmers.
“Slow Food” proponents view food as more than just sustenance to fuel daily activities. They see food as providing a host of cooking experiences that are deeply rooted in tradition and culture. Meal times are supposed to be relaxing and an opportunity to socialize with family and friends while enjoying wholesome foods.
Buying into the “Slow Food” ideology requires a broader commitment to slowing down. In order to partake in wholesome, traditional foods, a dedicated amount of time is required to purchase and prepare the foods. Enjoying “Slow Foods” is all about prioritizing and making the time to ensure that your family eats fresh, culturally-based foods in a relaxed atmosphere.
Below are some tips to help get you started in your quest for “Slow Food”:
• Visit a farmer’s market and get a better taste for where foods come from. Talk to the farmers and ask them what steps were involved in bringing you the delicious produce. For a list of farmers participating in the Farm Fresh program in York Region visit: http://www.yorktourism.com/farm+fresh/default+farm+fresh.htm
• Dig up that recipe from your grandmother and make it the focus of the meal. This can add a greater sense of meaning to your family get-togethers
• Have the entire family involved in preparing a meal
• The next time you go shopping for food take a closer look at the labels on the vegetables and fruit, and see where your food originated. You may be surprised to find out that a great deal of the produce has travelled further than you think. Support local farmers by buying foods grown in Ontario
• Prepare a meal using foods and preparation techniques that you haven’t used before and invite friends over to enjoy the tastes and experiences of the meal
Forget the days of rushing home just in time for dinner, only to reheat a store-bought meal for your family. Make wholesome, culturally-based foods a priority in your life. Cherish meal times by serving “Slow Food”.
For more information on healthy eating or other health-related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca
Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
Phone: (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Pager (905) 830-3302