Feeding farmers on the field and feeding them well is no easy task. You want to provide nourishing, tasty food that’s quick and easy to prepare, transport and eat. You also want to offer variety and make sure hot food stays hot and cold food stays cold. That’s a tall order, especially when you’re likely already busy with a job, taking care of kids and picking up parts.
The key, according to several farm families I connected with about food for the field, is planning menu ideas, preparing ahead, good communication between the field team and home team as well as flexibility and a sense of humour. They also shared some specific strategies that I’ve combined with general healthy eating principles for ideas that will help field workers eat well and reduce the risk of fatigue, energy crashes, overeating, constipation and lack of concentration.
- Prepare snacks or light meals so those on the field can eat every three hours to keep blood sugar stable and prevent energy crashes.
- Make snacks that combine two or more food groups. For example, yogurt with granola and fruit; crackers and cheese; wraps or pitas with cheese, hummus or nut butter; cheese and fruit; fruit and peanut butter.
- Replace sleep-inducing foods like chips, pretzels, candy or chocolate bars with more protein-rich snacks that provide long-lasting energy. Consider nuts, low-sugar energy or granola bars, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, peanut butter and crackers, or low-sodium jerky.
- Include snacks that will keep the driver busy, like popcorn, sunflower seeds, trail mix, dried fruit, almonds, pistachios or roasted chickpeas.
- Ensure fibre is part of the daily menu by choosing whole grains, pulses, oats, flaxseed, bran, fruits, veggies, applesauce, nuts and seeds whenever possible.
- Add plenty of finger foods to the menu. Sandwiches, homemade pizza slices, quesadillas, cut veggies, fruit, pickles, granola bars, energy balls, muffins and cookies are favourites. Just remember to send along a package of handi-wipes or store a package on each tractor.
- When serving meals, focus on those that require only one utensil to eat. Think stews, soups, casseroles, Crock-Pot meals, baked pasta, meatballs, meat loaf, quiche, etc. If anything requires cutting, it’s best to do it at home.
- Send along plenty of liquids. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and impaired performance. As much as possible, choose water, fruit-infused water, soda water, soda water with juice or herbal tea (hot or iced) instead of pop, energy or sweetened beverages.
- Prepare and freeze as many snacks and freezer meals ahead of time as possible. Homemade muffins, granola bars, cookies, soups, stews, cooked whole grains (quinoa, rice, barley, etc.), casseroles, lasagna, hamburger patties, meatballs, quiche, taquitos, burritos, etc. are excellent for freezing ahead.
- Keep sandwiches interesting by switching the toppings (see the chickpea salad below), changing the type of bread (pita, sourdough, wraps, flatbread) or adding new ingredients (roasted veggies, fresh herbs, a new cheese).
Finally, don’t forget to enter every Supper in the Field contest that you hear about as often as you can!
Chickpea Salad Sandwich or Wrap
Replace tuna or egg salad sandwiches with this tasty chickpea filling that’s equally good in wraps and pitas or on top of crackers, crispbread or leafy greens.
- 1 (15-oz./425-gram) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 c. finely chopped dill pickle
- 1/4 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
- 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
- 2 tsp. minced fresh dill (optional)
- 1-1/2 to 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaked in texture. Stir in the celery, green onions, pickles, bell peppers, mayonnaise, and garlic until combined.
Now, stir in the mustard and dill, and season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, adjusting the quantities to taste.
Recipe Source: Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows
Crunchy Oats & Honey Bars
A nut-free, gluten-free crunchy oat and honey bar. Makes 27 bars that can be stored in the freezer. To ensure this recipe is gluten free, buy oats rolled in a gluten-free factory (the oat package will state if it is gluten free).
- 2 c. large-flake oats
- 1/4 c. oat flour (or grind 1/4 c. regular oats in food processor)
- 1/4 c. ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 c. quinoa puffs
- 3/4 c. brown rice cereal
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1/4 c. canola oil
Toast oats by spreading on large baking sheet and baking at 325 F for 10 to 15 minutes. Line 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
In large bowl, combine oats, oat flour, flaxseeds, quinoa puffs and brown rice cereal.
In small bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Mix in vanilla, sugar, honey and oil.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well. Transfer to prepared pan and press down firmly into an even layer.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Bake slightly longer for crispier bars.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then use parchment paper to lift bars onto cutting board. Cool completely, then cut into 27 bars (3×9).
Store in an airtight container or freeze if keeping more than seven days.
Recipe Source: www.gettystewart.com