Posts Tagged ‘ expert advice ’

Sunday Saver: How to Reduce Food Waste and Slash Grocery Bills

Friday, November 8th, 2013

“When my daughter wakes up, she opens her eyes and asks ‘What’s for dinner?’”

“I wish I was kidding,” Alex Guarnaschelli laughs. ”By the time she’s eating breakfast, I better have an answer for her.”

Like moms everywhere, this Food Network star faces The Dinner Question. (And thus, trips to the market and food storage tasks.)

Alex, the author of Old-School Comfort Food and mother to a 6-year-old, is the executive chef at Butter in New York City. Last year, she became one of Food Network’s Iron Chefs, and she is a regular judge on Chopped.

Every morning Alex goes to the kitchen to plan her entire day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Making a plan of attack on your groceries will save time, money, and cut back on waste, she says, which is why she partnered with Glad for the Save It Sunday campaign. The movement, which encourages participants to protect and preserve food, centers on the Sunday ritual of grocery shopping.

“It’s the one day of the week when you can commit to setting aside time: for shopping, cooking ahead meals, and storing other items—it’s about starting the week on the right foot,” she says.

Alex does a lot of her cooking on Sunday, which is why the pledge really speaks to her. But it also goes a step further.

“Ironically, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook—because I’m doing it all day everyday and by mid-week I’m fried,” she says. “Taking that time on Sunday, and getting joy from it, is wonderful.”

A proponent of reducing waste, Alex is extremely conscious of the issue both at work and at home.

“When I talk to my team about how to prep and store 100 pounds of beans for the restaurant, the same thing applies when I go home and make braised short ribs for my daughter,” she says. “You have to be very proactive.”

According to a 2012 study by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws out 25 percent of the food purchased—roughly $1,500 worth each year.

 

Try Alex’s tips for saving time, money, and reducing food waste:
• Make a meal plan.

“Figure out what you are going to do with everything you buy,” she says. “It’s a pleasure to have an agenda—you’ll feel like you’re pulling a fast one on everybody because it’s so easy!”

Read the Parents meal-plan guide to get started.

 

• Stop thinking about leftovers as, well, leftovers.

“Instead of looking at packaging as something that lets you recycle and throw back in the scraps no one ate, think about it as a new beginning,” she says. “And, by making a plan, you’re actually ensuring there aren’t any leftovers.”

Plus, “leftovers” can be better than the first time around: “Growing up my mom would make a big batch of meatballs and sauce and, to me, the sauce tasted better two days later,” she says. “It’s not a leftover—it’s something you created that got better with age or other ingredients.”

 

• Don’t be hard on yourself.

“Some weeks, I don’t have my act together,” she says. “As a busy working mom, there are nights when I have to say, ‘Guess what kid, it’s fried eggs tonight.’ And that’s okay.”

 

• Reorganize your fridge.

“The crisper can be the kiss of death. Don’t put your fruits and veggies in there,” she says. “Instead, fill it with club soda and put your produce on display. My favorite thing to do is put herbs in a jar of water on the top shelf, or sometimes right on the kitchen table.”

 

• Buy different ingredients.

“Challenge yourself to use new items—like a bunch of thyme or mint—by taking one little step each day for a week. In order to use it up, you’ll find creative ways to add the ingredient to dishes.”

 

To join the #SaveItSunday movement, visit glad.com. If you pledge, you’ll be entered to win a meal prepared by a personal chef.

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September 11: Resources for Parents and Kids

Friday, September 9th, 2011

September 11 is a painful event that brings up painful memories, even now during the 10th year anniversary.  Every parent has a story that may be too stressful to share, but dialogue about September 11 may be appropriate as kids get older and discover more about our nation’s history.

We asked our bloggers and writers to share their personal stories and thoughts on how to discuss this dark moment with kids who may be too young to remember that day. 

Advice from Experts

Parents Seek Advice

Personal Reflections

News

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The Leiby Kletzky Tragedy: When Is a Child Ready to Travel or Walk Alone?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

little girl-windowThe story of Leiby Kletzky is a horrific one because it magnifies every parent’s worst nightmare: a child’s life is lost because of misplaced trust in a stranger.  The 8-year-old was walking home alone, for the first time, in his Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn when he got lost. While asking for directions, Kletzy was kidnapped and went missing for a few days until police found his body.  What has shocked everyone is the brutal way his body was disposed, and the fact that murder happened in a close-knit religious community founded on trust. 

As police continue their investigation into the motives behind the young boy’s death, parents are left with tough questions: When is a child ready to travel or walk home alone?  How can kids be taught to stay alert?  In what ways can parents balance their fear of the world with their child’s desire for independence?

We spoke to Dr. Yoni Schwab, a child psychologist at the Windward School in White Plains, N.Y., and a Parents expert, to get his thoughts and advice on how parents can help their kids be self-reliant while remaining alert to potential dangers in this world.

At what age is a child old enough to travel by himself, whether by public transportation or walking home (from school, camp, library, store, bus or subway stop) alone? 

There are no hard and fast rules about age. It depends on the child, the neighborhood, the length and complexity of the trip, and the time of day, among other things. In some neighborhoods, 8-year-olds can walk a couple blocks to a friend’s house while some 12-year-olds may live in a place that’s not safe enough to travel independently.

How do parents know when a child is ready? What characteristics determine independence?

Find out any relevant laws in your area and then speak to other parents to get a sense of what is customary in the community and how they managed the process [for independence.] (This advice comes from Wendy Mogel’s excellent book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.) Finally, you need to know your child. Really knowing your child is the only way to determine if she is ready. Quiz the child about what she might do in different circumstances. Observe your child when walking outside. Does she pause and look both ways before crossing the street? Does she notice details about the environment and possible dangers? Try walking a few steps behind the child to observe and see how she does on her own. Is your child attentive to his surroundings, thoughtful, responsible, and appropriately cautious? Or is your child impulsive, spacey, and overly trusting? All of these factors go into a decision about when to allow your child to travel alone.

(more…)

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Tips and Expert Advice on Dealing with Bullies

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Back-to-school and bullying seem to go hand-in-hand now that summer is over and children are grouped together at big schools.  These days, bullying—especially cyberbullying—is on everyone’s mind, especially with the string of national tragedies (college freshman Tyler Clementi and high school freshman Phoebe Prince come to mind) that have made the news as a result of mean kid tactics.

Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age, but most bullying starts—and is experienced—at a young age in the hallways, on the playground, on the bus, and wherever kids are more susceptible to misbehave and to be mistreated when there is no closely monitored adult supervision.

If your child is being bullied or you suspect bullying may be happening to your child, we hope the Parents.com resources below will help your family understand, cope with, and end the cycle of bullying. 

Don’t forget to report all bullying to school authorities (such as teachers, principals, and administrators) and even to law enforcement if bullying escalates into extreme violence.

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