There was a time in my life, not that long ago, I concocted elaborate gourmet meals from the contents of my freezer. I desperately needed to revolutionise meal time.
Fish fingers, frozen peas and potato croquettes.
Or chicken goujons (and not the homemade kind) with sweetcorn and a side salad.
Or a “tasty” combination of garlic bread, potato waffles and Tesco’s frozen Indian selection.
I won't even mention my fig roll and oxtail soup diet.
And always served with a healthy portion of guilt on the side.
The fear that I wasn’t doing a good enough job to prepare healthy, nutritious food for myself and my family was constantly knocking. And being honest, I wasn’t doing enough.
Granted I didn’t resort to my decadent freezer menu every night but more than I care to admit to you.
When I was working full time, one of the most stressful parts of my day was arriving home from work and having to
I was under serious pressure to turn something out immediately or I was greeted with tears, tantrums, dramatic flailing on the floor (not me, the then four-year-old). I was a crazed lunatic running about the kitchen trying to prepare something, anything edible.
And on the days I did successfully manage to get a healthy meal on the table I was met with a chorus of “I don’t like chicken curry anymore, I’m allergic, that’s disgusting, I’m not hungry anymore”. It was soul destroying.
One Simple Weekly Task
Thankfully I’ve found another way. And the upside is MASSIVE. I do one simple task a week that has allowed me to revolutionise meal time and nutrition in our home.
We are eating healthier.
And regularly trying new foods.
We are saving money and have dramatically reduced food waste.
Our reliance on frozen processed foods has been eliminated.
And eating together as a family is a relaxed, fun affair.
Every Sunday morning I spend 30 minutes writing a weekly meal plan. I know, I know, it’s not exactly revolutionary but bear with me, it works.
It takes the headache out of trying to figure out on a daily basis what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And when you shop based on the plan you always have the ingredients you need when you need them.
6 Step Plan - Revolutionise Meal Time
Before you grab your pen to start meal planning, first you need to COMMIT:
Like all other things that are good for us in life such as exercise, it requires commitment. Don’t lose momentum and enthusiasm after two weeks. I guarantee you - this is one tool that will help you and your family eat healthier, revolutionise meal time, save you time and money.
Writing it down. By taking the time to put pen to paper it’s more likely to happen. We write our weekly meal plan up on a whiteboard. But equally, you can use meal plan printable or an app. Prepare your shopping list from your plan. If you’re a working family, do a couple of hours meal prep at the weekend to alleviate some of the midweek pressure.
In other words - batch cook. This is one of the easiest ways to revolutionise meal time. It’s pretty much the same effort to make a double portion but the upside is far great – a home prepared meal on a day you’re too busy to cook. Make a double batch of curry or a big pot of bolognese – stash half in the freezer for hectic days.
Build in flexibility. You want your meal plan to be manageable or you won’t follow through. Build in a leftovers day or an occasional takeaway night/meal out. Get your partner or older kids to take on the cooking responsibility at the weekends.
So you have your meal plan and you head for the supermarket with your detailed list. Do not fall at the first hurdle. When you enter the store you will be hit by the smell of fresh bread and cakes. And you will instantly drool. IGNORE THEM – stick to your list. If it’s not on the list – it does not go in the shopping trolley. Try online shopping if you find it difficult to stay out of the sweet aisle.
What are your favourite recipes? What are the kid’s favourite dinners? Get everyone involved. By doing this, you’ll come up with a meal plan that will suit all tastes. This is also a good time to look at the family schedule – are there days of the week that require a quick meal as everyone is not home until six o’clock? Factor all this in when deciding your meals.
Are you ready to COMMIT and revolutionise meal time? Are you ready to allocate 30 minutes each Sunday to feel less pressured during the week, to eat healthier without extra effort? And to know you are doing the best for your family?
I assure you, this small investment of upfront preparation, will make a positive, healthy and lasting impact on your family life. Give it a go, revolutionise meal time – what have you got to lose (only the midweek evening stress).
Co-Founder, Pepper Hustle
P.S. One other bonus tip for producing nutritious meals – invest in a slow cooker. Your dinner will cook while you’re at work and be ready when you wall in the door. Genius.
P.S.S. Need serious help? Then check out the Pepper Hustle Power of 3 bundle - it will completely revolutionise not just meal time but your entire life.