We all know it, there are not enough hours in the day. Often, even thinking what to have for dinner can cause palpitations. If you are caught on the run, it means a trip to the supermarket in-between finishing work and picking the kids up. STRESSFUL. You have to be a super woman to put a healthy meal on the table in these circumstances. The success to healthy eating is in the PREPARATION. Making sure that you have all the ingredients necessary for each meal. I do this by meal planning and then creating a shopping list. I have favourite places that I like to go shopping, sometimes I shop at the supermarket where I will often buy organic chicken, butter from grass fed cows, organic unhomogenised milk, and other places such as the Farmers Markets, green grocers or online.
My husband and I have a weekly ritual where we get up early to go too the farmers markets on Sunday. Here we buy all our fresh produce, fresh free range eggs, nuts and seeds, herbs and Kamboucha. This is the one thing that we can both do together and really enjoy it. The round trip takes about an hour, and during this time we have built up some really good relationships with the suppliers. Cleverly navigate your way around the supermarket, fresh fruit and veg grocer or corner shop picking up what you need.
In my pantry, I always make sure that I have back ups. If I have one jar open, then I will always have a spare in the cupboard. For items that I constantly use such as tomato paste, or my favourite oils such as coconut, macadamia or olive, I will make sure that I have up to 3 or more bottles of each to minimise the number of trips to the shops. If you are unable to make a mental list then have a white board in your pantry to write down what you are running low in.
My deep freeze is another time saver. Here I make sure that I have adequate supplies of blue berries, strawberries or raspberries and bananas for a go to smoothie. I keep a good supply of grass fed meats so I can pull something out in the morning ready for that evenings dinner.
Not only are these time savers, but also money savers. If you are caught unprepared, when you and your whole family are hungry and wanting dinner NOW- this can lead to poor food choices. It may seem like a good idea to get takeaways, but in the time that you have ordered, gone to collect or waited for it to be delivered is time that you could have used to put a healthy dinner on the table.
Having four weeks of seasonal meal plans and shopping lists are ideal so that you can rotate each one. It takes practice. When making a meal for the first time, it will always take you longer. Don't despair...it gets easier and easier. Its about mastering a few dishes, which you can put together in a moments notice.
Here are my top 4 tips to help you become organised in the kitchen.
1. Sit down every weekend and plan the week ahead. On a diary, write down all events that you have on during the week.
2. Menu Plan - write down all your favourite meals and add a new meal every week to keep it interesting
3. Shopping list - online, harris Farm, organic grocers. It may take a little while to get going, but its worth it.
4. Plan to do a batch cook on Sunday ready for lunch boxes and those busy nights during the week.
Monday - Chicken Stirfry and rice or cauliflower rice
Tuesday - Grilled Salmon with root vegetable chips
Wednesday - Chicken Tray Bake Loving Jamie Olivers recipe
Thursday - Beef Burgers and coleslaw
Friday - Butter chicken and rice or cauliflower rice
Here are some vegetarian options
Monday - Kidchiri
Tuesday - Pesto Bean Salad
Wednesday - Vegetable and Nut stirfry
Thursday - Slow Cooked Dahl with tomato
Friday - Minestrone soup with extra beans and rice
And the beauty is if you make ample then you have enough to take as left overs or freeze for another night. With all left over meats stored in the fridge, it is best to use them the next day or freeze.
Preparation is the key that will save you hours of panic, stress and uncertainty. Having a good meal plan or working to a routine can be a lifesaver. Its one less obstacle that you have to face in the day. And who needs that!