Trust me, I know how hard it can be to come up with healthy and delicious meals every day. Covid-19 has placed much more responsibility on parents during virtual learning. There are some families who have nannies, chefs, assistants, and a full support system to help them maintain their daily routine during these times, but what about those who don't have a team or a strong support system. It can easily become overwhelming and many parents fall into the habit of feeding their kids fast food just to get it over with. How can moms and dads balance work, homework, home chores, errands, appointments, and meal preparations among a myriad of other things to manage? I have come up with some tips that work for me and my family.
As a mother, chef, and entrepreneur I have had to make major adjustments for my family to make homeschooling less of a challenge. One of the challenges that I have faced as a mom is preparing healthy meals that my kids actually enjoy. It's so easy to stop by Chick-fil-A on my way home from a long day because the responsibility lies solely on me for our meal preparations. However, I would not feel adequate as a mother knowing that I cook healthy and nutritious meals for my customers and continue to feed my own household crap every day. This train of thought prompted me to come up with some simple solutions to planning meals for the week that I believe we all can apply to our lives to make cooking easier while keeping it tasty. There are a few items that will be very beneficial to keep in your kitchen for easy prep, here are some of my favs!
The Ninja Chef Blender
This blender will literally change your life. I use this to make soups, sauces, smoothies, protein shakes, milkshakes and to grind up just about anything that I do not have time to prep manually. This is a 3-in-1 blender that crushes, food processes, and makes dough. The Ninja chef blender has some great features such as:
SmartTORQUE is designed to power through heavy loads without stalling or the need to stir or shake.
Variable speed control. Start slow and ramp up as needed for precision chopping and mixing.
Power Blender & Processor Pitcher: crush, chop, and make dough conveniently in one pitcher.
6 preset Auto-iQ programs for one-touch smoothies, frozen drinks, bowls, spreads, chopping, and dough.
Powerful 1400-peak-watt power-dense motor.
An easy-to-clean food blender is dishwasher safe and includes a cleaning brush for handwashing.
Includes 1400-peak-watt power-dense motor, 72-oz. Power Blender & Processor Pitcher (64 oz. max liquid capacity) with Total Crushing & Chopping Blade, Dough Blade, Cleaning Brush, and Recipe Inspiration Guide.
Pre-Cut, Non-Stick Parchment Paper
Ask any chef or committed home cook and they will all tell you the unspoken blessing of pre-cut parchment paper. There is nothing worse in my opinion than damaging great baking pans by baking directly on them. I also hate the hassle of tearing parchment paper like aluminum foil, who really wants to do that every time it's time to cook? These little sheets make breakfast, lunch, and dinner a breeze when baking. Pop biscuits in the oven, bake cookies, granola, layer bread pans for bread baking, or place grilled meats on top to finish baking. These sheets can also be used for wrapping sandwiches or wraps. These sheets prevent foods from getting stuck to your pans making clean up much easier. Once you start using these pre-cut sheets, you will dread going back to using the tear apart papers sold in most local grocery stores.
Foil Pans with Snap-On Lids
Thank me later for adding these gems to this list. These foil pans with lids are absolutely perfect for prepping meals and leaving them in the oven to stay warm. Several days during the week when I know I will be arriving home later than normal or leaving home early, I like to use these pans to store my kid's breakfast and lunch meals in the oven with the setting on low to keep their meals warm. If you have teenagers who are responsible they can remove the food when their hungry and cut the oven off. If your kids are not old enough to operate the oven, these pans make it easy for you to come home and pop foods in the oven to finish cooking or to re-heat. Either way, these pans make meal prep and clean-up easier for everyone because their affordable, washable, and re-usable.
This Brieftons salad spinner lets you wash, clean, dry & serve salad greens and other vegetables quickly and effortlessly. It features an easy, one-handed pump mechanism and quick brake button. High-speed centrifugal force dries salad greens, herbs, lettuce, arugula, spinach, romaine, fruits, and vegetables in a matter of seconds, effectively reducing germs and potential bacteria and giving you the driest, crispest greens possible. This makes salad prep much easier. Adding salads to meals every day is another way to fill up those tummies. When preparing meals, try serving salads first, don't be afraid to keep experimenting with salads to find out which ones your kids will actually enjoy. Eating a salad before each meal also helps to control their appetite and allows them to get their nutrients in first. It can also cut down on how much food you're actually cooking. I always like to feed my kids a balanced diet, but sometimes I just want to cook something simple and not have to stand in the kitchen all day. Adding salads allows me to do just that. If I'm preparing a fish dish, I add a salad instead of heavy carbs and bake dinner rolls. A salad spinner has been my go-to for a very long time.
Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Reusable sandwich bags are freezer safe and multipurpose. They will protect your food from discolored dry spots and preserve the original taste of food. You can use them to store food, snacks, fruits, and so on. These bags make packing snacks very convenient. They are excellent for grab-and-go snacks. I love to prepare granola, chopped vegetables with dips, pita chips, and mixed fruit in these bags. Store them somewhere your kids can easily access them and these types of snacks can keep them full until dinner time.
Cooking for your family is the ultimate gift of sacrifice and selflessness. Make it easy on yourselves by incorporating some or all of these products and tips. If you're cooking for home-school like me, leave a comment and share some of your favorite tips, kitchen accessories, or appliances. I'd love to hear from you!