HomeWorking MothersWhat’s For Dinner, Mum? 5 Ways To Get Organised With Menu Planning For Busy Working Mums
Posted in Working Mothers on 26th June 2011

What’s For Dinner, Mum? 5 Ways To Get Organised With Menu Planning For Busy Working Mums

It’s something we’ve all experienced. A crazy day at work followed by the realization when you arrive home that you are Mother Hubbard and the cupboards are bare. Becoming organised with your meal planning will help you avoid the emergency ketchup sandwiches and help you have a healthy, varied diet.

1. Invest in a slow cooker. As a busy working mum, how often do you really look forward to cooking after a day at work? Maybe you find a great way to unwind, but so too, is sitting with your feet up and a glass of something nice. A slow cooker allows you to throw a few ingredients into the pot before you head to work and by the time you get home it’s ready to serve up for the kid’s teas and for your evening meals. As an extra bonus, you reduce the amount of washing up too! Be warned though, most meat will require browning in a pan beforehand, more for aesthetic reasons, but you can still prepare great meals in under 10 minutes.

2. Discover a good method for meal planning. A good one can be found on Netmums – http://www.netmums.com/food/Meal_planner.357/. It will take a little bit of effort but what you’ll end up with will be a balanced menu list, based on what your family enjoys. You’ll have the right mix of all the right food groups and it will also feed into your weekly shopping list. At least until you find yourself tired of it!

3. Cook in batches – the freezer is the working mother’s friend. This works best when you run to a two weekly schedule rather than a weekly one, otherwise you are eating the frozen batches the night after you cook the meal again fresh! Buying in bulk will help save you some change too. Invest in some great Tupperware and a marker pen, so that you can write the content and the date of each meal on each box. Make sure you decant some into small boxes too, for the kids’ meals, whether at home with you when you are pushed for time, or for the nanny whilst you are busy working.

4. Get creative with the ‘The left over masterpiece’. An average household in the UK will throw away £480 worth of food each year. To save yourself some money and to pique your culinary interest set yourself a weekly target using as much of the leftover food in your fridge in one meal. You can even get the kids involved, to stimulate their lateral thinking processes and have some fun together. Rice and pasta are a great base to add you bits to, and using spice can change the overall flavor to create the feel of a whole new meal. A great website to help you use leftover food is www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

5. Review your planner at regular intervals – the food may not get stale but the repetition will if you let it. Be sure that you sit down every three months to assess if any of the meals have lost their appeal and remember to change your meals according to the season; both to meet the body’s changing seasonal needs and reduce your food mile. While salads may be the perfect summer food, you will be lookingfor heartier comfort food in the winter. Putting them on the substitutes’ bench for a couple of months will ensure their virtues are fondly remembered at a later stage.

With these tips in place, you are sure to begin enjoying well planned meals without the worry of having a ketchup sandwich again.

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