Cooking For Working Moms | By Tracy Falbe
Super mom is supposed to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, but that old song is a tired joke for working moms who need to put dinner on the table. Too often working moms resort to fast food or microwave dinners to feed their families, but these options if used too much lead to poor nutrition and even obesity.
Fatigue and stress usually cause working moms to forsake the kitchen, but with a change in attitude toward cooking, you could enjoy more time at home, better nutrition, and even save money.
Overcoming the time barrier
Busy moms (and dads) think that their schedules do not allow time for cooking. Dealing with time issues usually becomes easier once you step back and examine how you are actually using your time. If you are picking up a take out dinner five nights a week, then you are likely spending 20 to 30 minutes after work performing this chore by driving to a take out food place, waiting in line, ordering, and then going home. With even the conservative 20 minute estimate, you have used 100 minutes (close to 2 hours) in one work week that could have been spent cooking nutritious food and saving money. Wouldn’t it be nicer to drive home, put your feet up for a few minutes, then make some dinner?
Time barriers to cooking are also overcome by planning and accepting that many foods do not require very much time to prepare. To cook efficiently you need to find meals that you like and that do not require much time to cook. Next, you will decide what meals you want for the week and then make one trip to the grocery store to buy the necessary food supplies.
My kids don’t like my cooking
If you have a family that is accustomed to fast food, then your family may need time to adjust to a healthier lifestyle. Kids often prefer fast food to home cooking, but that is all the more reason to make fast food a treat. It can be something they earn instead of simply expect. Also, as your cooking skills improve, your kids will come to like real food better because most fast food is rather distasteful to people who are used to good food.
Asking for help
For working moms with older kids, you should ask them to help you cook. The kids could even have specific days in which they prepare dinner. Although kids will likely complain about having to do anything, teaching them the important skill of cooking is important to their future independence and health. Some kids will even enjoy cooking and take pride in contributing to the family’s needs. And allowing them to be involved in food preparation will get them excited about their food instead of whining for fast food.
Tips to make cooking easy
- Keep it simply on most days. You do not need to try anything extravagant.
- Cook meats ahead of time. This is often a simple task that can be accomplished with minimal effort in the couple hours before you go to bed. Browning and seasoning some ground beef the night before and putting it in the refrigerator will allow you to have a speedy taco dinner or nachos the next night. And having some cooked chicken in the refrigerator makes it easy to put together a casserole after work.
- Get a slow cooker and find some recipes you like for it. After some prep time in the morning, you can go to work, and then have a hot dinner ready to dish up when you walk in the door.
Buying take out food all the time eats into your wallet every day. That money would be much more efficiently used with a big trip to the grocery store. A roast on sale for $7 can feed a family of four and give some leftovers for a sandwich or two. That same $7 might be only one or two fast food meals. And staples for side dishes like potatoes and rice are easily under $1 a pound. Frozen vegetables are also very affordable and they don’t wither in the refrigerator. They might not be as nutritious as fresh, but they are much better than no vegetables and they taste good.
Cooking skills come with practice, but the effort is rewarding. Spending some time in your kitchen with the kids helping or doing their homework at the table is far better than sitting in a car at a drive-through restaurant.
To begin your journey to reclaim your food and spend your time on meaningful activities, steer your canoe over to Recipe River, a resource for home cooking with a growing list of recipes. recipes.falbepublishing.com
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