By Chef Lauren Cox of Closer To Your Food
Eating dinner with your family, some may say, is a lost tradition. With mid-20th century industrial advances came convenient foods, TV dinners, fast food and a separation from dining around the table. It became commonplace in American households to eat something easy to make and eat in front of the TV.
Today, not much has changed except everyone in the household seems to have their own screen or mobile device on which they can enjoy the media of their choosing. Along with a perfect storm of agricultural, economic and sociologic influences, we’ve found the modern American family has little interest in not only home-cooked meals, but also in simply being around one another. There exists a heightened dependence on nutritionally barren, processed, pre-made foods and less knowledge of where food actually comes from and the implications of its growth, its cultivation and processing have on our economy, bodies and environment.
Family-centric individuals, culinary professionals, farmers, educators and healthcare providers alike now advocate for a return to the table, so to speak, for your family’s physical and emotional well-being. Studies show that focusing your energy on your food while you eat and doing so slowly, tremendously increases your digestion and helps to reduce stress levels. Families who take time to converse and enjoy each other’s company for even 30 minutes out of the day at dinner show less stress and more cooperation. This is especially significant for couples and parents.
At Closer to Your Food, we are advocates for getting the family around the table and in the kitchen. Cooking is an amazing opportunity for children to cooperate in the family and make a creative contribution. We know that in today’s world, cooking, shopping and cleaning up after made from scratch meals can be very daunting and time consuming so we have developed the Five Days of Family Meals plan. We offer you five recipes that are very simple, offer great cooking techniques you can use in the future and an easy shopping list that will get you through the week on a budget. All of these recipes have been tested and approved.


Shopping List
gluten-free pasta or pasta of choice
extra virgin olive oil
dry white wine
sea salt
black beans
white beans
chili powder
chili flakes
aioli or olive oil mayo
nuts/seeds of choice
tortilla chips
bay leaves
pepper corns
frozen pastry or puff pastry dough
bag of onions
colorful bell peppers
bag of carrots
head of celery
salad greens
parsnips or root veggies
fingerling or small new potatoes
ground meat of choice
rotisserie chicken
halibut or light white fish
Irish cheddar
half & half or heavy cream
We hope you find this week of cooking and eating at home not only somewhat enlightening but extremely delicious. Cheers!
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Closer To Your Food is a wellness blog and YouTube channel dedicated to better wellness through whole food nutrition, sensible eating and informed food preparation fueled by healthy-eating recipes. They are a frequent contributor to the Natural Partners blog. You can visit them at and follow them on Twitter @Closer2YourFood.