Guest Post – Meal Prep Hacks for Busy Mums

Good morning and happy Friday. I was contacted and asked about guest contributions and thought this would work really well on the blog with some fab tops. I think as well as working well for busy parents, they also work well for the Spoonie community – some of these I already follow but I am going to try out a couple of the others too. Hope you enjoy it!

Meal Prep Hacks for Busy Mums

Article specially written for thespooniemummy.com by Karlie Maher

As a working mum, making healthy meals for your family could be challenging but it just requires a balance of planning, knowing what your family likes, and strategically doing grocery shopping from there. Previously, Natalie wrote a recipe on Cheat’s ‘Paella’, which is a simple, big-batch meal that’s both delicious and nutritious. It can adapt to your family’s preferences and whatever else you may have on hand. These are the same concepts you should keep in mind when thinking of other ways to feed your family.

Sheet pan meals

On her Instagram feed, foodie mum and blogger Sandra Mihic, also known as @sandraseasycooking suggests throwing a number of ingredients on a sheet pan – especially vegetables. A little bit of seasoning can mask the raw taste of vegetables, and simply baking all your meal ingredients on a sheet tray saves time. If your kids don’t like veggies, this is a good way of making them look more appealing especially when they see the vibrant colours. You can make a complete meal on a sheet pan and include other proteins as well. It’s also a great way of clearing out whatever you have left in your refrigerator. You’ll also be thanking yourself for the clever idea as you will have less dishes to wash.

Rice-based meals

Making rice the base of your meal ensures that your family members stay satisfied for longer periods of time. It’s a flexible and versatile ingredient that can be turned into a number of full meals like stir-fries, grain bowls, and even as a companion to soups and stews. While food safety may be a concern for making rice and reheating it throughout the week, it may just take proper cooking and storage to make sure that it stays fresh. On We Know Rice’s Facebook page, the California-based rice cooker reviewer suggests a number of rice cookers working mums can invest in to make well-balanced meals while cutting time spent in the kitchen. Some of these appliances even double as steamers, which means that you may be able to multitask and cook other components with just a few clicks of a button.

Proper portioning

Registered dietician Abby Langer suggests following the formula of two proteins, four vegetables, and one starch for your meals for the week. This gives you enough leeway to be flexible and to ensure that every one of your meals is well-balanced. When preparing proteins, you can even consider meatless options like tofu or beans. Vegetables can be made in any form that your family prefers – you can save fresh produce for a big salad, and use vegetables that are about to go bad in roasts or stews. As we suggested in the previous point, you can simply make a big batch of starch like rice as the base of your coming meals.

Emergency frozen meals

There may be some days wherein you will have absolutely no time to put together a fresh meal no matter how much you intend to. At the start of the week, consider making something that you can freeze which your family can simply reheat for an instant, homemade meal. The options here are endless: casseroles, lasagnas, enchiladas, chicken pot pies, the list goes on. These last longer and are sure to leave your family happy. You can also find comfort in knowing what exactly went into every dish and no longer have to worry about your family turning to TV dinners or takeout when mum’s not home. Once you get the hang of meal prep, cooking for your family will no longer be an added chore to your busy schedule, but something to look forward to. To get everyone involved, you can even turn it into a full-blown activity that each family member can participate in.

I hope you find these tips really handy. Me and Ste have also been watching Jamie Oliver’s show – Keep Cooking and Carry On – which is on channel 4 at 5.30pm. He is sharing ideas and recipes which are really helpful during lockdown, with us having less or different food in due to the Covid19 restrictions. Keep safe everyone,

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