Read on for healthy meal planning tips and more clever hacks on how to prepare nutritious meals for your family – even after a long day!
We don’t know how today’s working women do it! Balancing work, play, hobbies, kids, husbands and the responsibility of still coming home after a long day and whipping up the family meal is the stuff superheroes are made of! If you find it hard to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for your family every night, we hear you!
You’re tired. You’ve worked all day. You’ve helped your kids with homework (and worse, it was maths this time around). You’ve encouraged your hubby not to kill his boss. Who has the time to cook?
Today, we want to tell you that, although we understand the dilemma, you can still cook a healthy meal without having to resort to takeaways every night of the week.
We chat with Sophia Lindop, a professional chef, for her top tips on how to take the stress out of family meals:
To succeed in this, you have to plan ahead. We know this sounds like work, and it must sound boring, but like we plan our diaries, we need to plan our family’s nutrition! Sit down on a Sunday afternoon and make a quick list for the week. Here’s an example:
Monday: After a busy weekend, take out a frozen lasagne, pop it in the oven and make a salad.
Tuesday: Heat up any leftover meat meals in the fridge, add potatoes, cook rice, and cook broccoli.
Wednesday: Pop a chicken in the oven to roast when you get home, add potatoes, onions in chunks, butternut cut in quarters, and allow to cook while you help with homework.
Thursday: Heat up soup that is frozen, add a hot ciabatta, and dinner is ready.
Friday: Picnic with the kids. Make homemade hamburgers and a salad, and picnic on the lawn.
Saturday: Homemade pizzas! Make the dough and let the kids help by chopping things like ham, onions, Rosa tomatoes, peppers, and let them roll out the dough and cook for you!
Sunday: Friends for lunch, so let’s do a braai or roast a pork neck in the Weber. Add some oven-roasted vegetables, potatoes, and perhaps a salad. Make a quick dessert like malva pudding or chocolate mousse, and everyone will be happy!
Don’t toss leftovers away
Did you know that things like lasagne, bobotie, and soup freeze well? Did you know that curries and stews age well in the fridge and get better as they go? We find that the potatoes don’t age as well, so, when you get home, rather place the pot on the stove, add the potatoes and cook until tender. We suggest you spend some time over the weekend preparing a few dishes to freeze, or to keep in the fridge.
Shopping wisely ensures that you always have something easily ready in case of an emergency. For example, always have a couple of loin chops in your freezer, or chicken breasts ready to defrost to make a salad or serve on mashed potatoes. If you and your family are vegetarians, stock up on things like lentils and chickpeas. Always have rice and couscous in your stash.
Buy healthy snacks
Always have fresh or dried fruit, and nuts in your home for snacks. That way you can give someone a banana and at least fit in a quick bath before you jump into preparing dinner.
South Africa’s fresh produce has taken a quantum leap forward in the last few years, and we really have no excuses for not eating well! We have so much readily available. And besides, it’s time we as families ate together again! There’s so much merit in that!
So, in signing off, yes, we truly can feed our families nutritiously delicious meals! Even with so little time on our hands!