Melissa Lanz, author of “The Fresh 20,” explains how amid a busy schedule she has created a plan for making eating healthy and simple
Introduction by Jaclyn Crawford
If you are anything like me, when you get home, making dinner can work its way to being the last priority. Sure you could prepare an elaborate meal like you had envisioned earlier in the day, but in the moment it seems so much simpler to throw a frozen pizza in the oven. We all know that this may not the best for our bodies, but when it comes down to resting from a hard day or cooking dinner, I’m choosing to rest.
Here Melissa Lanz, author of “The Fresh 20,” describes how she faced similar problems, and created a way to address them. Her tips include easy-to-implement ones, giving busy executives the chance to eat healthy without breaking the bank or their back.
Forefront: What was going on in your life when you decided to develop this plan? What effect has it had on you and your family?
Melissa Lanz: I was working 60 hours a week, eating frozen burritos and processed “convenience” food and spending less and less time with my family. I was busy but not happy. I wasn’t eating healthy, and my energy was low and stress was high. I needed a solution.
The Fresh 20 [plan] has given my family a path to health and happiness. Eliminating processed food has been such a positive experience. I can’t perform at my best for work or my family when I don’t pay attention to what I am eating. After The Fresh 20, I feel proud of my family food culture, and feel like I have a commonsense roadmap for sustainable health.
Forefront: How would you describe the modern working family and the challenges they face? Why would they find your plan useful?
ML: Only 4 percent of families fall into the stereotypical father-works, mom-stays-home-to-manage-household notion. The rest of us have a myriad of family dynamics that make the pace of family life more hectic than ever before. Many parents work beyond the 5:00 quitting time, and feeding our families has become a major stress point in day-to-day life.
While the information on the Internet continues to increase and the food revolution is taking shape, there are very few step-by-step solutions for a modern, healthy family to maintain a good family food culture. The Fresh 20 provides a real solution to reducing the amount of processed food and eliminates the stress of, “What’s for dinner?”
Forefront: Tell me about your strategy. How do you make sure all the ingredients bought are used? How much do you spend in an average week?
ML: When I think about how much food I’ve wasted over the years by not planning, I am encouraged to maintain the daily habits of using less ingredients to reduce waste, controlling costs by limiting the amount of food that goes into the shopping cart and relying on quality to enjoy weeknight meals. The Fresh 20 is built on the principle less is more. Planning ahead makes it possible to mix and match ingredients in an effective, cost-saving way.
A typical week of meals costs around $75, coming out to $3.75 per serving. That’s less than takeout!
Forefront: It seems like the working professional might be an expert at work, but doesn’t necessarily bring that expertise into his or her personal life. What advice do you have for working men and women out there who are trying to balance a healthy and happy lifestyle with a busy schedules?
ML: Slow down in the kitchen. So many people think of dinner as a chore to get done. It has become something that families rush through on the way to the television. When I feel most hectic, I simply slow down the process of dinner because in the Internet age of the modern family we should stay as connected as possible and there is no better way to spend quality time as a family than at the kitchen table. As executives, we can manage so many moving parts in business; I just wanted to apply the same principles to my family dinner table.
Melissa Lanz promotes health and happiness in the kitchen. As the author of soon-to-be-released “The Fresh 20 Cookbook” (Harper Collins, 2013) and founder of The Fresh 20, Melissa is bringing a new kind of fresh food movement to thousands of kitchens across North America. To learn more about Lanz, readers are invited to visit www.thefresh20.com and www.melissalanz.com.
Jaclyn Crawford is the Social Media and Editorial Coordinator at Forefront magazine, read her bio here.