One of the things that comes the most natural to new parents is the instinct to care for your child. In theory, this sounds like basic tasks – feeding, changing, cuddling, sleeping, loving, etc…
One thing parents tend to overlook is how important it is to take care of yourself as well, as a parent! Eating something that doesn’t come out of a takeout container can seem like a daunting task. Whether you are on maternity leave, a stay-at-home mom or a working mom – the task seems equally as challenging! The key to getting a healthy home-made meal on the table is organization.
I know this is super cliché and it hardly seems possible to get yourself dressed in the morning, let alone planning a week’s worth of meals but it really isn’t as time-consuming as you think!
My husband and I are Whole-Food Plant-Based about 80% of the time. I say 80% because while we don’t keep or cook any animal products or oils in our home. If someone generously offers to make us a home-cooked meal, we tend to be overjoyed by the offer and eat whatever they graciously cooked for us! So, that means our weekend prep work doesn’t include any meat.
I also tend to search for recipes that have similar ingredients in a week. This helps us to stay on budget and requires less prepping if we are using a bunch of the same vegetables.
Now that I am back at work full time, I really don’t want to spend all my evening in the kitchen prepping and cooking when I could be spending time with the family. So, I put about 2 hours aside (that’s really all it takes … and sometimes it’s way quicker!) on the weekend and prep our meals. To clarify – I do not cook anything. I get all my veggies cut up and cleaned the way I like them for the meals I have planned and put them in the fridge in containers/Ziplocs.
If you really think about what takes the most time when cooking, I’m sure you’ll agree that getting everything prepped is what takes so long. The cooking part really doesn’t take too much time at all.
A few little extra things I have found make the cooking process even quicker during the week is:
- A slow-cooker – spaghetti is a huge hit in our house! All we do is take the veggies (that I’ve already prepped) and throw them in the slow-cooker in the morning with tomato sauce and spices and it cooks while I’m at work! The only task I have after work is boiling the pasta!
- A rice cooker – Stir Fry is another weekly staple! While we change up the flavors and spices one thing that doesn’t change is our base – brown rice! Another kitchen device that has saved me tons of time is a decent rice cooker!
- Food processor – remember how I said meal prepping can take up to 2 hours? It takes WAY less if you have a food processor to do all the grinding and chopping for you!
These are just some ways I make our dinners go a little smoother during the week!
What are some ways you’ve found help keep the time in the kitchen to a minimal?