Today, we are going to make a super easy ‘healthy’ dessert. Strawberry banana ice cream! (Strawberry Banana Ice Cream)That got me thinking about cooking and meal planning. If you have a (large) busy family, you do not have lots of time to cook fancy gourmet meals. Still, most of us would want to serve our children healthy meals and snacks, not laden with sugar and artificial ingredients. How do we balance cooking from scratch and not being able to spend hours in the kitchen? Maybe wondering at five o’clock what we will eat for dinner? 🙂
A few things that have helped us:
* Plan meals ahead. I’m still learning that one…:-) I have recently made a monthly menu with simple nutritious meals. They include meals like oatmeal, homemade pancakes, rice casseroles, soup etc.
* Plan meals that are simple, yet nutritious. Oatmeal is one example of that. It can be prepared in many different ways, and you can add various ingredients to it to change it up.
photo credit: http://www.driscolls.com
* Have your children help cook meals. Even if at first they seem more of a hindrance in the kitchen, they love to learn! Often I tend to want to do it myself, because it is much faster. But how else are they going to learn if I don’t teach them? And isn’t it priceless to hear them proudly say: ” Dad, I made these pancakes all by myself!” 🙂 At a certain age our children are capable enough to bake cookies, fry eggs, make pancakes, and even serve simple meals . When they are younger, they can help cut up veggies, stir, and peel whatever needs to be done.
* Don’t try new fancy recipes when you are a busy mom – unless cooking and baking are your ‘destressors’..:-) Keep the recipes that work, and stick to them. Later when the kids are older, you may have more time for cooking special meals.
Yes, it does take time to bake your own bread, or make your own yogurt, if that’s what you like to do. And if you feel that you couldn’t be bothered, that’s fine too. Nobody is telling you that you have to bake your own bread, or have a vegetable garden. We can spend hours in the kitchen, and ignore our children at the same time. Then we may have to re evaluate our priorities, if that’s the case.
That’s where I need the wisdom of other moms, who have done this already. I cannot recommend the book “Large Family Logistics” enough. This book has helped me to plan my time better, also in the area of meal planning. Another website you may like is: http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com. A lot of good organization ideas to be found there!
Now, what do you do to plan meals? What do you find important? No junk food at all? Would you rather spend more time in the kitchen with your children? Or does your schedule not allow for much experimenting in the kitchen? Maybe you have only young children, so you don’t have a lot of helpers. Any recipe ideas? I’d love to hear from you!