Today's Parent, Delish Mag, and VIA weigh in on family food trends

It's our first blog of 2011, and we’re kicking off the new year with an expose on family meal trends! Indeed, 2010 saw the rise of some interesting new (and some not-so-new) family food and meal ideas (think ancient grains, eating local, and cooking programs for kids). What's on the horizon for 2011? To find out, we've asked some of our favourite trend ‘noticers’ around Canada to weigh in. Here, we reach Today’s Parent Magazine, Delish magazine, and VIAwesome for their insights on what everyone’s talking about in the world of family and food.

First we reach Victoria Walsh, the Cooking With Kids columnist for Canada’s most popular parenting mag, Today’s Parent. She starts us off with a bit of a national overview on meal trends and anticipated ideas.

Explains Victoria, “Let's face it, trends come and go. I think the most important trend of 2010 and 2011 for families is eating fresh and eating healthy. I think for modern families this is not just a phase but also a way of life. We as Canadians are so affected by our seasons that it makes sense to eat produce that's fresh, in-season, and local (produce that hasn't traveled thousands of kilometers to make it to our refrigerators). I see families making fresh and easy their top priorities when it comes to menu planning in 2011 and onward.”

Another great reason to go shopping at our local farmers markets!

Next we reach Jason Landry, who edits the family section of the very popular and inspiring e-zine VIAwesome, to chat about trends he’s come across.

Jason tells us, “Well, it’s hard to break trends down into specific years, but I would say Vancouver—and BC at large—is well-known for an abundance of ethnic food options. In 2010 I saw plenty of these dishes and ingredients making their way into the home. With a trip to your favourite supermarket and a quick search on Google, it's relatively easy to make things like bulgogi, ceviche or phở; and, just like their parents, kids seem to love the variety!”

Indeed, Google has made experimenting so much easier.

Continues Jason, “In the coming year, I expect to see more children getting involved in the kitchen. When kids are young, their minds are like sponges and they have a natural attraction to learning. I expect to see families taking advantage of this to learn about food together!”

We hope so! Not surprisingly, cooking together with the kids is a great way to bond and teach kids about cooking and nutrition. In fact, here at Better Together, we also noticed a rise in the number of cooking programs around BC designed for youth.

Next we track down Tamara Komuniecki, Editor of one of our favourite online magazines, Delish. Delish is known for espousing traditional values in a modern mindset, speaking to those of us who want to bring a little tradition into our daily lives via projects like making our own sauces or learning how to can.

Says Tamara, “In 2010 I noticed an increasing awareness about food i.e. what we’re eating and where it comes from. This is something that should be so obvious to us, but it’s not. I’ve noticed in the world of parents that people are no longer wanting to feed their families artificial foods—Cool Whip, Cheez Whiz, etc. It seems people have been doing more and more of their own investigating around foods, and even doing their own canning, making jams and butters and sauces and generally getting more hands-on with what they're eating!”

Continues Tamara, “Another topic of interest I noticed in 2010 is food that’s in-season and local. 2010 also saw a renewed interest in traditional and ancient foods with a modern twist like quinoa, kefir, Kombucha. I see all of these trends continuing in 2011.”

“Right now, recipes for delicious soups and breads seem to be on everyone’s mind!”

On that note, Tamara has shared a recipe she has modified slightly for Roasted Root Soup (added 1/2 onion, 1 carrot, and 1 parsnip) from her favorite blog Posie Gets Cozy (see picture below). You can also find this yummy recipe in our Better Together recipe archive here.

Roasted Soup

This year at Better Together, we’re focused on making our recipe archive a wealth of great family meal ideas. We'll be awarding recipe contributions with great prizes- like $$ to spend at Cookworks! All you need to do is enter a recipe on our site here (whether it’s your own or from another source, with credits) and you’ll automatically be entered to win. Let's inspire one another with some delicious, family-friendly meal ideas!

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