Stress-free meal planning for people in a rush

You can do under 500 calories, but don’t do under dressed if you want to get your family meals on track.

  • Jan. 25, 2011 5:00 a.m.

TV meal planner Sandi Richard was in town this week to show Kelowna how a good dinner is done.

You can do under 500 calories, but don’t do under dressed if you want to get your family meals on track.

This was the advice from Food Network Canada chef Sandi Richard as she stopped in at the Chapters in Kelowna this week.

“I am a big proponent of aprons,” said the nationally-renown author and chef as she explained her theory that staying in your work clothes before you prepare a weekday meal keeps one in the frame of mind to complete the job.

Richard said her crew have got special full-coverage aprons that ensure their butts are tucked neatly into a safety zone, should anyone feel the need to wipe a hand on his or her derrière.

Richard’s specialty is the cheap, nutritious and delicious kind of meal an everyday cook can create and she guarantees all of her dinners to be under 500 calories.

She still knows her way around a good high-end kitchen, though, and said the Okanagan plays home to one of her favourite rising stars of the culinary world.

Jeremy Luypen, formerly of the Hotel Eldorado and now of his own restaurant, Passa Tempo in Osoyoos, was on her list of people to track down after her signing.

“He knows how to combine and infuse food,” she said. “I mean he’s really good at it.”

Richard wants more people in the next generation to experience food as an important art. Her mission is to ensure children learn that the daily meals are not chores or a source of conflict, but experiences to celebrate and enjoy with the family.

The ticket to this success is preplanning the meals, she said. She uses a system which gets the whole family involved by having everyone contribute to writing down what they want to eat.

“We must involve the other people in the process, no matter how perfect a person is at it,” said Richard.

By planning meals ahead of time, it reduces a tremendous amount of stress thinking about what to eat at the end of the day. Research indicates that most people take an average of one hour of time to think through this “what’s for dinner?” question.

Planning and then shopping also saves families large amounts of money.

“Every time you go to the store for milk it’s $20,” Richard pointed out. “Not to mention the lost time grabbing the extras—‘Oh, I forgot the chickpeas for tomorrow.’ ‘Are we out of this?’”

Her system can also reduce fights as making the call near the end of the day to ask someone what they want for dinner can put a spouse on the hot seat to come up with something and intrinsically points out that the person making the call is being the responsible one—again.

With the rising cost of food hitting the national political agenda, Richard’s recommendations may, in fact, herald a trend toward getting the family back in the kitchen.

Richard’s new book, Cooking for the Rushed, is in stores now. Every photo in the book is a real dish she’s made, she said, noting she didn’t want to stage anything to polish it up.

“I want people to feel like they can do this,” she said.

Just Posted

Need to catch up on news? You’re covered

Every Saturday the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

Big White board school among best

Director of snow sports, Josh Foster, is one of the top instructors in Canada

Seniors prefer funeral to lifestyle planning

Survey finds 73% of seniors have a will, only 13% have long-term care plan

Okanagan College business students soar

Medal winners at Western Canadian Business Competition

UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option

Gord Lovegrove says cohousing is sustainable social and economic lifestyle

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

Most Read