SELF CARE FOR PARENTS
Time Savers for Healthy Meals
How do you easily prepare daily healthy meals within minutes of walking through the door?
1. Automate meal preparation where possible:
Work out a repeating menu (Repeating fornightly or monthly)
Link your shopping list to the menu
Work out the amounts required to make meals from your menu
2. Display the menu so whoever gets home first can commence meal preparation
Making Family Life Easy 1
In addition to the health benefits of creating a 'healthy' repeating menu, the changes had significant unexpected roll on effects for our finances.
One wet day when soccer plans were cancelled I did some serious planning and turned things around for us.
That day I created a fortnightly repeating menu, (which I later expanded to cover a month because it worked so well.)
Out of everything I did towards organizing our household, changing how I did meal preparation, achieved the biggest difference. I achieved astounding results over years because I automated as much of it as possible.
Do you ever come home late and feel like you're already tired? But you've got to start all over again, in your most important job... as a parent.
Over time, I found with organization in place, providing healthy meals on a daily basis, was not only easy, but it became easier than takeaway... Seriously.
THE VALUE OF CREATING A REPEATING MENU
If you're creating a menu of healthy meals, to begin, think about your working week.
You may have some working days that are longer, children may have sport after school on specific days, you may have appointments after work or you may have to do grocery shopping.
You know your routine better than anyone else and which days meals need to be quick and easy.
I went through my newly created menu and worked out the quantities of food that I needed for each person.
And while this may seem an arduous task, you're already doing it, on at least some scale (if you're preparing healthy meals.) All I did differently was, I did it properly once, instead of over and over again... over years.
Then I extended what I did, so I wasted even less time planning. Then I got to spend more time on what I wanted to do.
When I planned my menu:
I put the most challenging days in first.
On the days when I knew I'd walk in the door late, I planned for my quickest and easiest meals.
If I knew I got home earlier on a particular day of the week that would be the day that I'd put a baked dinner, or a stew that needed longer to cook; although needed little attention once it was on.
Or I put a meal in the slow cooker in the morning so it was ready to eat as soon as the accompanying pasta, rice or fresh steamed vegetables were cooked.
WORKING OUT AMOUNTS
To follow what I did, you'll first need to work out what you want to eat; and how much you need of each item for each meal.
These are the amounts I allowed, based on a family of 4 healthy eaters, two of whom were teenage boys who liked to eat meat at meal times. If you want to use this as is you will need to adjust to what is more appropriate to you.
Carbohydrate serves: Per person I generally allow: one potato, one eighth of a butternut pumpkin, one quarter of a sweet potato, one quarter of a bag of pasta or ½ cup of uncooked rice person as a serve of carbohydrates. You can determine how many serves of each you will need.
Meat serves: For a serve of meat I allowed:
500 grams of minced beef (or a pound) for four people, 2-3 thin sausages per person, 1-2 small BBQ chops per adult person, (1 BBQ chop per child or for some women who eat less,) one and a half forequarter chops per person (for stews and the like,) 1 small leg of lamb for 4 people (I usually buy a large one unless slow cooking it and use it for leftovers), one half of a piece of chuck steak per person, 1-2 lamb shanks per person, etc.]
Chicken serves: For a serve of chicken I allowed:
1-2 chicken thigh fillets per person, 4 chicken wings per person, 2-3 drumsticks per person, 2 kebabs per person, etc...
I highlighted the items that were non-perishable so I knew which non-perishable items I also had to purchase for the fortnight.
I took both children with me and sometimes used two trolleys (as the children got older and ate more food,) especially when I did my big monthly shop for non-perishables.
And as they got older I trained them to be more involved in locating items from shelves, or reading from the shopping list. Even as young teenagers it worked really well because, they loved to eat.
And as a testimonial, when both of our adult sons moved out, they used the same system I created .
Vegetable serves: For a family of 4 I allowed:
1-2 carrots, 2 ears of corn, one fifth of a large bag of beans, 1-2 zucchini, one half to one floret of broccoli, one fifth to one quarter of a cauliflower, one fifth to a sixth of a bag of snow peas. (The bags I am describing are the plastic bags provided by the supermarkets to put your vegetables in, not carry bags.)
Salad serves: For a serve of salad I allowed:
one pre-packaged bag of salad for a meal for four. If it is for my salad for lunch I allow one bag for three days to provide a healthy light meal for lunch.
To easily link your menu to your shopping list
go to the following link:
Providing regular healthy meals can be really easy if you plan ahead.
Click on the following links to learn more:
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