Getting the balance right when working, juggling looking after children and trying to get that home cooked meal on the table for everyone can sometimes feel impossible.
My girls are ages 6 and 9 1/2 (that 1/2 is VERY important!!) since their arrival in our lives I have experienced a broad spectrum of employment combinations, working from home, full time mum job, full time study, part time employment and setting up and running my own business – the latter being my current situation.
Eating well is important to me I do this by having a family meal everyday where we can talk about the day, school etc. I have always done this, even when they were babies. If my husband is home late we will eat our tea without him, he will eat when he gets home. I feel this is important as I believe food is more than nutrients, eating together can be bonding, a time to sit without any electronic devises, talk, laugh and be together.
So how can this be done when our lives are so busy?
It really helps to plan your meals ahead on a weekly basis, do a shop / order online and buy all the ingredients you need. This will also save you money in the long run as doing a mad trolly dash when you are hungry with grumpy children is not only stressful but, if you are anything like me you will end up buying loads of yummy snacks, giving in to sweets for the children to avoid meltdowns (usually mine) and not buying much else!! I live rurally this forces me to be more organised.
Plan your meals around your diary, have quick and easy suppers on busy days and food that takes a bit longer on days when you have more time.
Eat the same foods, where possible try all eating the same foods, it saves time and encourages children to try lots of different foods.
There are lots of meal box schemes on the market that whilst are a more costly way to shop can take some of the stress out of planning, Gusto and Hello fresh are just 2 of many.
Pre prepping food the night before can be really helpful, even if it just peeling veg this means you can just turn things on when you get home.
Batch cooking is amazingly helpful, cook large pots of things like soups, curries, pasta sauces, stews etc can be doubled up and frozen for another day – the perfect ready meal.
I have always though this might be good fun to do with a friend, many hands make light work, cook together, share the food out and you both have some ready meals, do it one evening over a bottle of wine.
Invest in a slow cooker, when I worked for the NHS I would often not get home until 5.30 – 6pm and the girls were little I would prep the food the night before, switch on the cooker in the morning and when I came home the dinner was cooked, it was so nice to smell the dinner when we got home.
HAVE BACK UP
If all else fails, have back up in the freezer, isn’t that’s why fish fingers and frozen chips were invented? Don’t feel guilty because lets face it even the most organised of us need a break. Take aways can be expensive but if you live in a city I believe you can get some pretty good ones these days!! Its about balance and trying to get that right.
Be good to yourself but I find the more organised I am the easier it it to be organised you kind of get into the rhythm of it.
Good websites for recipes I have found for inspiration
Jamie Oliver – he tends to use easy to follow recipes with easy to find ingredients
BBC Good food
Everyone will have their own favourite go to recipe so I would love to know yours…