All parents are busy parents. Between housework, shopping, school runs, clubs and work, there are simply never enough hours in the day. Adding home-made meals into the mix can be a daunting thought.
We all know that cooking can be really time consuming and can lead to burn out, leaving you resorting to frozen foods, pre-packaged meals and takeaways. We’ve got some time-saving weaning tips and tricks up our sleeve you can use. These tips will save you time and help you provide healthy meals for your little ones.
8 Time Saving Weaning Tips
1. Plan Ahead
You know that saying “failure to plan is planning to fail”? It’s so true when it comes to cooking meals for your children. By planning ahead you’ll feel more organised and in control, and cuts down on feeling stressed out.
- Make a meal plan – This way you’ll know how many days you have meals prepared for. Also you can cut down on shopping costs and waste by buying only the ingredients required for each meal. Meal plans can be developed with your children’s favourites in mind, or get them involved, and prevent that ‘I have no idea what to cook tonight’ feeling. Check out this handy Tesco Meal Planner to simplify cooking and food shopping.
- Get a calendar – Mark out what meal you plan for each day, including your batch cooking days.
- Batch cooking – Clear a few hours on a day you don’t have plans and batch cook. You’ll be able to make a few meals and freeze them for using later. On day when you’re too busy or tired to cook you’ll be grateful to simply defrost and reheat.
2. Make More
If you’re not so organised as to have a batch cooking day you can improvise by making extra with each meal. Adding more ingredients to your cooking means you’ll have more than you need for that meal. Take this extra, divide it into portions and freeze for handy ‘ready meals’ to use at a later date.
Do the same when preparing ingredients for a meal, e.g. chop more vegetables than needed and store in a container for quick use another day.
This method cuts down on daily cooking, as well as the time consuming task of cleaning cooking utensils and plates.
3. Use One Pot
Meals which use one pot to cook all the ingredients together are a god-send. This cuts down on the stress of having to make one main with a few side dishes. The best part is you’ll only have one pot to clean at the end. Keeping your cupboards well stocked with basic ingredients such as rice, pasta, stock and passata, herbs and spices is the best way to create these dishes.
4. Keep it Simple
Breakfast and lunch don’t require fancy meals. Simple foods such as cereals, toast, omelette, and sandwiches will provide more than enough nutrition for your little ones. This cuts down on the amount of cooking you’re doing though the day and won’t leave you dreading go0ing back to the kitchen for dinner time.
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5. Shop Once a Week
Make a plan of what you need and buy only what’s on your list. Not only will this save you time but also money from the cost of travel to the shops as well as what you spend when there. A great tip is to look at what deal supermarket have on (available on their websites) and plan your meals around those ingredients. If you see a great deal , don’t be put off if it’s a bulk buy, as you can portion most fresh foods and freeze them for using later.
6. Food Preparation
Using kitchen appliances can cut down on a lot of the work you do when cooking. A food processor will tackle pretty much everything you need for weaning and cooking. You don’t need to buy anything too expensive but it will need to be reliable as you’ll be using it a lot.
If you don’t want to buy appliance you can save time by roping older children into chopping, peeling veggies. This is a great way to teach them about kitchen safety and get them involved with cooking.
There is always the option of buying ready prepared veggies from the shops, whether it’s chopped carrot or diced onions. This option will cost more than non-prepared veg, but it may help to keep your sanity intact.
7. Slow and Quick Cooking
There is no better way to save time slaving over a hot stove than having a few quick cools meals up your sleeve. Quick cook meals usually are prepared, cooked and on the plate in under 30 minutes. Think along the lines of stir-fry, pasta and egg dishes.
Slow cooking is also a great way to save time by throwing everything into one big pot at the start of the day and leaving it until dinner time. A slow cooker makes food full of flavours and meat so tender, perfect for the family and weaning.
8. Clean on The Go
There is nothing worse than cooking a huge meal, sitting down to enjoy it and then realising you still have all the dishes to do. Doing the washing up as soon as you’re finished with each pot, utensil or appliance you’ll feel like your achieved more once the meal is ready.
The same applies with keeping your kitchen clutter free whilst cooking. Put the ingredients back into storage once you’ve finished using them. You’ll feel more organised and the kitchen won’t look like a bomb site.