Growing up, Aviva Goldfarb felt most connected to her family when they gathered at the dinner table. It was usually the only time of the day when all four of them were together. While they enjoyed her mother’s home-cooked meals, each family member came out of their own private corners for just a little while to have engaging discussions, catch up on happenings in each others’ lives and really feel connected—even if just for half an hour or so.
When Goldfarb, who is a member of the JFE® Advisory Council, had a family of her own, she planned to make family dinners a priority. However, while her mother had made it look so easy to plan and cook dinners, she found that it was actually incredibly stressful.
Life is so busy with work and children; dinnertime can sneak up on us. It takes planning to have all of the ingredients for a recipe and to allow enough time to prepare it. “Oops…I was supposed to marinate that for four hours? The kids are about to have a meltdown. This is not a good time to bundle up them up for a last-minute trip to the grocery store during rush hour.” The alternative, take-out or frozen foods, is often high in salt, fat and processing, with few fresh vegetables or whole grains, and more expensive.
It dawned on Goldfarb that she was doing everything backwards. Instead of looking inside her refrigerator for dinnertime inspiration, she needed to decide in advance what she was going to cook so that she could go to the grocery store once a week and be fully stocked. In 2003, she turned her simple solution into an online business by creating the meal planning service, The Six O’Clock Scramble, to help other busy parents make healthy family dinners a reality.
The Six O’Clock Scramble’s website has over 1,000 recipes, with Goldfarb developing two to three new ones each week. Members receive a weekly menu plan with eight suggested seasonal recipes (including side dishes). They can create a customized menu plan, including special diets such as gluten-free, vegetarian and kosher, and adjust recipe sizes for bigger or smaller families. A grocery list is automatically generated based on members’ selections.
While working with the producers of the film Fed Up!, Goldfarb discovered that added sugars appear in many surprising places—ketchup, low-fat and fat-free salad dressings, whole-grain crackers, pasta sauce and flavored yogurt, to name a few—and Americans are eating way too much of it. She has created homemade recipes for these kid favorites and started a Facebook group to help people kick sugar cravings.
After 17 years of developing and sharing healthy recipes, including writing three previous cookbooks, it was natural for Goldfarb to team up with the American Diabetes Association for her newest cookbook, released earlier this month, The Six O’Clock Scramble Meal Planner, which includes 160 delicious recipes that require 30 minutes or less to prepare, and 32 weekly menu plans complete with main dishes and sides, as well as a weekly grocery list.
“What I’ve learned in the course of writing this book is that the same healthy eating strategy that benefits people with diabetes and can reverse pre-diabetes is the way all of us should be eating. The recipes in the cookbook are ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy delicious meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber, whole grains and lean protein and few refined carbohydrates. Not only can it help those of us who want or need to lose weight or keep excess weight off, it can also help reduce our chances of getting diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Plus, the recipes are family-friendly, easy to make and super delicious,” says Goldfarb.
Prior to its release, dozens of early testers and reviewers shared their valuable feedback on the book. Two early testers had recently received upsetting pre-diabetes diagnoses, and both succeeded at returning their blood sugar levels to normal using Goldfarb’s cookbook.
Goldfarb shares, “There’s no more meaningful or important feedback to me than people making my recipes and getting healthier so quickly! That’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited to share this book with the world.”
Catch Aviva Goldfarb at a cooking and meal-planning demo at the Real Food for Kids Expo in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 12.