STILLWATER – The pandemic has thrown off market supply chains, often leaving holes in consumers' grocery shopping lists. Family cooks are justified to worry about holiday menus, said Courtney Bir, an Oklahoma State University Extension specialist and assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics.
Thanksgiving is not doomed, however.
“The shelves aren’t bare. You just need to consider your options,” Bir said.
Options are just what OSU Extension assistant specialists such as Jenni Klufa and Diana Romano suggested:
• Sharing is caring. Invite everyone to contribute and let them know this year will be a little different, said Romano in the Community Nutrition Education Program.
• Budget now. Every dish on the table is expected to cost more this year, according to economists and major food companies. Be frank about what’s most important to the family.
• Shop early. Reduce stress by avoiding grocery store crowds.
• Mind portion sizes. Consumerism can drive people to forget about their health. Fruits and vegetables help stretch the “protein budget” if the turkey is smaller than usual, said Klufa, who focuses on youth in CNEP.
Most importantly, try to embrace adaptation rather than dread disappointment. Good memories come from overcoming challenges together.
So, instead of parents summoning children to the table at the last minute, Klufa said, their experience should start in the grocery store and continue in the kitchen.
“Even the youngest enjoy being asked to pick carrots or green beans. They’re also more likely to eat healthy foods if they take ownership,” Klufa said. “And older kids will love to be given credit, even if it’s just washing vegetables or stirring the pot.”
More holiday food ideas are available from OSU Extension online.