Life is busy, the kids are hungry, tensions are fraught and it is all too easy to resort to nuggets and waffles for tea again because it is quick and easy – and everyone will eat it. So what if there was an easy way to feed your family healthy food without too much hassle? In this blog post I have some ideas and shortcuts that my clients with busy families swear by to help them save time and effort in the kitchen.
Easy ways for busy families to eat well
- Set aside 15 minutes at the weekend to think about what your family will eat in the week ahead. What have you got ready prepared in the freezer? What is in the cupboards that can be used as the base for a mid-week dinner? What do you need to buy? Use this plan to make your shopping list. For example, if you have some chopped tomatoes and a can of red kidney beans, chilli is the obvious choice, or if you have some leftover curry paste in the fridge, use it as marinade for grilled chicken.
- Set aside some time to batch cook once a week and pack your freezer full of healthy mid-week meals. Make more than you will need so you can freeze it and use it another time. Soups, fish pie, bolognese, chilli, stew, curry – all of these freeze really well. This is a game changer for most families!
- Make family meals that will do more than one night – for example Sunday’s roast dinner leftovers is the base for a chilli beef stirfry on Monday night, chilli with rice on Tuesday can be made into fajitas with wholemeal tortilla wraps for Wednesday, or leftover bolognese from Thursday can be used to make a shepherd’s pie with a twist for Friday.
- Batch cook your lunches. Instead of grabbing an expensive salad or sandwich at lunchtime, spend a little bit of time twice a week – usually Sunday and Wednesday in our house!) to prepare your lunches. Have a look on pinterest for salad jar ideas (just put your salad dressing at the top to avoid any soggy lettuce). These will keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Just tip them upside down to let the dressing trickle through the layers before eating. I also love making quinoa super salad – this is great with leftover chicken or fish from last night’s dinner as a tasty lunch. Soups are a winner too – bulk them out with chickpeas, butterbean for lentils and a bit of chicken to make a complete meal and try serving with oatcake and humous or a great big salad to up your veg intake.
- Use your slow cooker. Layer up chicken, beans or meat for your option base, add any vegetables you like, a can of chopped tomatoes and some herbs and spices to make a curry or stew.
Let me know what works for you.