We pride ourselves in organisation but Carla, from Pretty Organised, takes things to a whole new level. Over the next few weeks Carla will be sharing her top tips for how us mamas can get seriously organised. Carla is also mama of 2 year old Nikolaas, so she knows all about organizing meals and meal planning. Here are her tips to make things a little bit easier:
Grocery shopping trip
In my opinion this is the start to feeding your family healthy meals. Choose a day to plan meals for the week ahead and a time when you are relaxed and calm to plan. I usually plan on a Sunday afternoon or first thing on Monday morning. Keep a shopping list in your kitchen, best on your fridge, and write down what you run out of during the week.
Organising your fridge
Make a point to clean out your fridge regularly, every two weeks to one month. This will give you more space to organise new and fresh ingredients. Use plastic containers to put certain items together, for example different kinds of cheese. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your fridge is over-full. Also, things get hidden in the back, lost behind the mustard. Don’t let things go bad. Keep your fridge airy and light, with a sensible, realistic amount of food in it.
Meals are easier and quicker to prepare if you keep your pantry well-stocked. Stock up on basic foods that can be kept like rice and dry pasta.
Personally I like to collect recipes from different sources. Create a place to save recipes and keep it simple. Do whatever works easily for you and don’t get caught up in a system. Meal planning is a really personal thing. What works for you may not work for me. The goal, I think, is to find a process that is both enjoyable and effective. Remember to ask your family what they like to eat. I get extra inspired when I feel like I’m cooking a meal as a gift.
Collect recipes that are both easy and a little more difficult. This way you can give yourself a break towards the end of the week with quick meals. Plan ahead to double recipes so that you can freeze some meals for when you know it will be harder to cook healthy meals.
I found that the time I take to cook a meal has a lot to do with how well I prepared the meal. I set aside time to prepare our evening meal in the afternoon when Nikolaas takes his nap. This way I am focused, quick and efficient with getting the meal prepared. I set the table, fill the water jug and feel excited for our time as a family together.
Having a meal together
As a family we try to have dinner by 18:00. This has been a good routine for us and it has some great benefits. One is that we eat together at a reasonable time, two once Nikolaas is in bed we have the evening to ourselves and can relax together. Some people prefer to cook dinner once the kids are in bed and that is great, if you prefer that way.
Chef night’s off
Having one day a week where you don’t cook can be a real treat and a nice family ritual. If you have bigger kids, let them prepare a meal for the family or have take-out at home. There are so many healthy options these days for takeout and it is great to give the cook a night off .
Let kids help in the kitchen
About a month ago I brought a little plastic step for Nikolaas to stand on. It is not always possible but he loves to help in the kitchen. . Giving a simple task such as stirring or chopping, putting peas in a pot just before dinner time can go along way In encouraging a little one to eat. Children enjoy helping to prepare food and then eating it!