Compensation was provided by Bertolli Frozen Meals. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Bertolli Frozen Meals. #BertolliMangia
I think one of the things that we Americans tend to pride ourselves on is just how busy we are. Sure, we like to complain about it, but we also like to keep our to do lists out of control, because heaven forbid we lose the busy contest that we play with our friends every single day (at least I know I’m guilty of this on the regular).
But being so busy also means that stress is high and that the ability to focus and be present is quite tough. I’m often thinking one or two items ahead on my list, and that’s such a shame, because I’m missing out on some great opportunities to make memories just enjoy life. Dinner is a constant area of struggle for me, because I believe it’s important to eat good, nourishing food and it’s important to sit down as a family, but just the act of having to make the meal can take an hour of my day, and I can’t tell you how many times that has resulted in me eating my dinner alone and working through emails instead of being with my people at the table, where I should be.
My husband and I were just talking about this quandary and the difficulty I have striking the balance between making the time for cooking and making the time for family. Fast food doesn’t have to be the crutch, after all. I can keep the meals very simple by pairing a yummy skillet meal with some fruit and a fresh salad. It can be all done in 15 minutes which helps me sit down at the table without nervously watching the clock. Instead, I can “mangia” with my favorite people on earth.
“Mangia” is a direct way of saying, “Let’s eat!” in Italian. In addition to some awesome new vocabulary, Italians have a few other cool things to teach us busy Americans about how to come together at the dinner table as a family. For example, 84 percent of Italians eat at the table with family, compared to just 31 percent of Americans. Italians are also twice as likely to set the table before the meal, which in my opinion is a great ritual of setting intention.
Yesterday I went to our nearest store and bought a table cloth for our table, which was a very simple gesture that immediately helped our lunch together feel more special. My youngest child set the table and I made a quick salad while stirring the Bertolli Classic Meal (Chicken Florentine & Farfalle) while it heated up on the stove for just 11 minutes. I also set some Parmesan cheese and some blueberries on the table. It was super easy, super delicious, and it was the best family meal we have had in quite some time.
By focusing on fresh, simple ingredients and finding a great dish that came together quickly in my skillet, I was able to make meal prep not a burden and I made meal time something to be savored instead of rushed through. What a refreshing change!
If you’d like to eat like an Italian and have quick meals with real ingredients more frequently in your home, check out all the great varieties from which to choose. And if you want more inspiration on how to create a spirit of “mangia” in your home, check out these ideas.