Taking the stress out of cooking for the family would be such a win, but week upon week, busy moms can struggle to get on top of it.
The following tips may seem out of reach for you right now, but believe me, you only need to get ahead of the game once. Once you get into a routine and make an effort to keep that running, it won't take too much time or energy from your busy day.
I base that advice on my clients, who are also moms. They helped me understand how they managed to become organized on their fitness journey. Here are some easy tips to make this a cinch!
#1. Shop Less Often
Going to the store less often saves you both time and money. It takes some organization skills to plan your meals and make a list of groceries that you need, but it is well worth the effort. This big shop should be completed around once a month and used to stock up on:
The most significant benefit of shopping this way is that you're unlikely to be tempted by special offers. Consider opting for frozen fruits and vegetables which last much longer than fresh. They're often cheaper, and usually already prepared for you. Start with once a week, then once a fortnight, and aim for once a month!
#2. Get Organized
By relying on a big shop once a month, you can also get organized in planning your meals. You can design your household's menu at least a week in advance, which cuts down on snacking and convenience food. It can be a lovely activity to involve the children as well, especially if they are picky eaters.
As soon as you're home from the store, there are a few things you can do to save more time down the line:
#3. Love Leftovers
You can freeze chicken, beef, and vegetable stock in handy ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable freezer bag. This way, you can reheat them to use in minutes. Awesome when recipes call for a small amount of stock!
When planning your menu, consider recipes that use the same ingredient but differently. Another way to look at it is by quickly making one meal's leftover into another dish. This way, you can stretch one meal into two - without having to eat the same thing twice. The easiest way to do this is to make more of the protein than you need (meat, fish, tofu, etc.) and use that in a different recipe the next day.
#4. Freezer Food
Prepping food in batches is a time-saving way to make lots of healthy meals for your family from scratch. Set aside one or two days every month to batch prepare your favorite suitable meals. By making them in large portions - more than you need for that day - you can fill your freezer for weeks.
Some meals are particularly easy to make in large amounts. Think of chili con carne, lasagna, curries, casseroles, sauces, soups can all be made in scaled-up portions to set aside for the freezer. Breakfast muffins, burritos, waffles, and pancakes can also be made ahead and reheated on the day for that freshly cooked feeling.
#5. Planning Ahead
As with your fitness goals, planning is the secret ingredient to success with your family nutrition. Planning your menu choices allows you to make a detailed list. This way you can escape the store with only what you intend to buy, saving you money. Bringing home and prepping ingredients means they're available and convenient for healthy snack choices. Cooking up double portions means you can plan a few days off cooking a week because you batch prepped your meals in advance.
If the thought of planning fills you with anxiety - don't worry. You don't have to come up with 30 different meals for the month. You could try starting with just 7 or 10 and repeating them in a way that lets you reuse ingredients.
BONUS: Take Away Time Saver Tips