With farmers across Illinois spending long hours in the fields, they and their families are shifting mealtime from the kitchen table to the field.

Being in the middle of a field without kitchen conveniences like microwaves, refrigerators and sinks requires farmers, workers and farm families to get creative with meals and snacks.

In the busyness of the season, University of Illinois Extension wishes you well and encourages you to download these handouts to help with shopping for, preparing and delivering meals and snacks with nutrition and food safety in mind.

To find handout links, visit {https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/know-how-know-more/2020-10-07-meals-field-farm-families}.

Shelf-Stable food recommendations

Using MyPlate, the current USDA food guide, readers will find a list of healthier shelf-stable foods in each food group. Bonus - these need no preparation or refrigeration. Also find a list of individually-packaged, shelf-stable foods that add preportioned convenience.

Planning nutritious meals

Meals with fiber, protein and fat will digest slowly and help farmers and workers feel fuller longer. Along with tips on what foods have these nutrients, learn about meal planning based on the MyPlate food guide.

Healthy farmer guidelines

Planting and harvest are busy times of the year, so farmers, make sure to take care of yourselves. Learn about timing of meals and snacks to sustain energy, ways to wash hands in the middle of a field and tips for keeping hydrated.

Ideas to maximize nutrition with snacks

Snacks help curb hunger between meals and are a great way to add nutrition to your daily food choices. Find information on pairing carbohydrate and protein foods for energy-sustaining snacks, including tips on healthier trail mix.

Food safety guidance

Foodborne illnesses impact about one in six Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For farm families cooking food at home and delivering to the field, food safety is very important. Find information on safe temperatures when traveling with food, ways to pack insulated containers and reminders about how long foods can sit out before foodborne illness becomes a concern.

Caitlin Mellendorf serves as Extension nutrition and wellness educator serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt counties. She is a Registered Dietitian and focuses on helping community members gain the knowledge, skills and tools to live healthier, more nutritious lifestyles.