Working parent Melissa Lanz shares stress-free tips for feeding your family—whether you work eight hours a week or 80.
If you are anything like me, when you get home, dinner is your last priority. Sure you could cook that wonderful dinner you had planned, but it seems so much simpler to throw in one of the many frozen pizzas in the fridge. We all know that this isn’t the best for our bodies, but when its between resting from a hard day, or cooking dinner—I’m choosing to rest.
Melissa Lanz, author of “The Fresh 20” shares how she faced similar problems most of us do, and how she created a way to change that. Her tips include ones that are simple and still allow busy executives to eat healthy without breaking the bank or their back.
Forefront Magazine: Describe to me what was going on in your life when you decided to do this? What was the change 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 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 common sense road map for sustainable health.
FM: Describe the modern working professional family and the challenges they face. Why would they find this useful?
ML: Only 4% 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 o’clock 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”.
FM: Tell me about your strategy, how do you make sure all the ingredients bought are used? What does an average week cost?
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 take out!
FM: It seems like the working professional might be an expert at work, but doesn’t necessarily bring that expertise into their personal life. What advice do you have to working professionals out there that are trying to balance a healthy and happy lifestyle with their 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 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.