The kid asked if there were any more chores he could do to earn some extra cash, and he’s now in charge of food prep!
It’s not only about the chopping and cooking though, it is his job is to make sure we always have beans, rice, oats, carrots, and plant milk (aka nut juice, he’s 12, it’s funny) on hand and ready to go. These are things we normally try to do anyway, but the truth is that time gets away from us all, and it’s not always the case. With putting him in charge, I think that’s about to change.
As one of the adults in the household, I know that always having cooked beans (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, pintos, whatever) and cooked brown rice in the fridge means I can always whip together a hearty tasty meal in minutes. No matter how busy my day is, or how many things we have to do after work and school. That’s good for all of us, and will definitely keep us from settling for more pizza nights, or take out Mexican, than we should be eating.
The same goes for breakfast, if we have cooked steel cut oats, plant milk, and frozen fruit, we have a delicious breakfast that can be ready in minutes. Having home made plant milks on hand will also keep us from relying on store bought milks, which are more expensive, and may contain questionable ingredients. I also appreciate that we have control over things like the consistency, flavor, and sweetness, by either adding or omitting things like dates, vanilla, etc.
We also eat too many baby cut carrots, or whatever they are called. You know the little bite sized carrots that come in the plastic bags. They are so convenient, but also more expensive are washed with who knows what. They also really don’t taste as good as a real fresh carrot stick. Having clean cut carrots on-hand also means that we always have a snack. In those weakened moments, when someone walks into the house starving, having sweet carrots ready to go is a lifestyle saver! Especially if we also have some oil-free hummus in the fridge. It will keep my hands out of the raw cashews, which is not what I should be reaching for when I’m hungry and looking for a snack.
Anyway, that’s why we always want to have this stuff on-hand, but the main reason why I’m interested in having my son in charge of all this is for the life skills and habits that I hope he learns from it. Learning how to prepare healthy food at age 12 is great. I loved to cook when I was a young teenager. I found it empowering and and appreciated the confidence I gained from knowing how to get a little creative in the kitchen. Learning the value of always having a few healthy staples on-hand though, is even more important. Especially if it means we become less dependent on take-out thai or Mexican, and veggie pizzas from our local pizzeria.
So, while I am interested in always having this stuff ready to go, I’m really more interested in the habits and skills this will help him to build over the next few months. I’m hopeful that will carry forward as he becomes more independent, so he too can easily maintain a very healthy plant based lifestyle.
All recipes and formulas mentioned in his core list are, or will be very soon, available on veggies for dinner as well. Enjoy!