"" Writer's Wanderings: The Great American Supper Swap

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Great American Supper Swap

Note to my readers: I don't usually do book reviews and blog tours but this is a book that has lots to offer young moms. I only wish there had been something like this when my kids were little and I reached the 4:30 panic of what to make for dinner. Trish is a good friend and I know this works for her. Hope you enjoy the interview.

The Great American Supper Swap
Solving the Busy Woman’s Family Dinnertime Dilemma
By Trish Berg

Many moms struggle with their endless to-do list, and dinner is just one more thing that usually doesn’t get done. Author and speaker Trish Berg has a great way to solve your dinnertime dilemma and shares all her secrets in her new book, The Great American Supper Swap.

Thanks for being here, today, Trish.
Thanks for having me.

I wanted to begin by asking you what IS supper swapping?

Supper swapping is really a simple solution to that ever present “What’s for dinner,” question that hits most moms at 4:30 every afternoon.

Supper swapping is moms helping moms by sharing the cooking responsibility for their families. Moms cook in bulk then swapping meals during the workweek.

To give moms an idea of how supper swapping works, could you share with us what your supper swap group looks like?

Sure. Right now we have 3 families in our group, though I have swapped with 4 families in the past as well.

Our typical week looks like this:
Monday – Nann delivers supper to us at 5:30, hot and ready to eat.
Tuesday – Kelly delivers her meal at noon, prepared but not cooked. At supper time, I throw it in the oven and voila!
Wednesday – Our day off. We eat leftovers from Mon and Tues.
Thursday – My cooking day. I prepare my meal Wednesday evening, and deliver it Thursday around noon, prepared but not cooked.
Friday – Since we have had larger meals already, it’s easy on Fridays to make something simple like spaghetti, sandwiches or grilled burgers.

Each group can decide what constitutes a meal. We only swap one main dish and one side dish, and each family adds salad, bread or vegetables on their own to complete teach meal.

We usually plan 3 months at a time and print out meal calendars so everybody knows what meals are coming when. (Moms can print FREE meal calendars at http://www.trishberg.com/)

Why do you think families have given up on dinner?

I think moms are just exhausted. Run down. Stressed out.

According to current research, only 50% of American families have supper together regularly today. Of those meals, 34% are fast food or take out.

Why is the family meal so important to our kids?

Eating dinner together as a family opens communication, helps children to eat healthier, feel more connected to their parents, feel loved and cherished. These benefits have a lifelong impact on our children.

According to research from Columbia University, children who eat dinner with their family on a regular basis are 60% less likely to smoke cigarettes, 50% less likely to use drugs, and 66% less likely to drink alcohol.

The family meal has a lifelong impact on our kids!

In your book, you also mention saving money through supper swapping.

Supper swapping can save families up to $4000 a year or more as they buy groceries more in bulk, shop with a plan wasting less food, and reduce their expenditures on fast food and pizza.

I give several examples of how supper swapping can save families money, but here’s one quick example:

Ordering pizza or take out costs around $25 for a family of 6. If you are now ordering pizza or buying take out 3 times a week:

$25 * 3 = $75 a week
$75 * 4.5 weeks a month = $337.50 per month
$337.50 * 12 months = $4,050 per year

You could save over $4000 a year on that alone, and that’s not even counting the money you’ll save buying in bulk and shopping with a plan!

With so many other dinner options out there, why do you think supper swapping is becoming a hot trend?

Basically because moms need help. Today families run at a fast pace unheard of 30 years ago. Usually, dinner is a fast food, on the go grab bag, or relegated to pizza, take out or frozen quick fix meals. These meals are unhealthy and expensive.

Supper swapping cuts a moms cooking by up to 80% since she only cooks one day a week.

For about 1-2 hours of meal preparation and 15-30 minutes or less of meal delivery one day a week, you get a week’s worth of hot, fresh, homemade dinners.

If a mom wants to start supper swapping, where can she get more information?

There is a ton of how to information, delicious recipes, encouragement and support in my book The Great American Supper Swap, available at bookstores and online at amazon.com, christianbooks.com and barnesandnoble.com. Moms can also contact me through my website to order a signed copy.

What do you hope families gain from The Great American Supper Swap?

Supper swapping can save families $4000 a year or more, reduce cooking by 80%, create a greater sense of community by adding deeper faith and friendships, and help families eat healthier food.

BUT MOST OF ALL – it gathers families around their dinner table together. That’s my mission. A return to the family meal.

Though I’m an avid supper swap mom, each family must find what works for them and re-claim their family dinner however they can. Supper swapping is just one simple tool to help moms make that happen.

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