Don't lie: you dread mealtimes with kids... unless it's your night off. Being starved of time while your little ones whine about being starving, is a recipe for stress. Beat this pressure by following some of these simple meal-time hacks for busy (ALL) mums.
1. Make enough for two nights
Double up on the recipe and try to have enough for two meals. Cooking a big meal every day is time-consuming and can get in the way of other activities, family time or even other household chores. Pick a less busy day to cook and your busiest day to eat leftovers - after all, they say that most food tastes better the next day! A
Top tip: Bolognese is a family favourite and can be served it with spaghetti one night and a lasagne the next- it seems like different meals but uses the same Bolognese base!
2. Have meals at the ready
Having a few stir in’s and jars at the ready for a quick and easy meal solutions is a great way to save time. Ballymaloe has some pasta stir in options for just this! You could also invest in a small chest freezer so you can batch cook a few family favourite meals like Bolognese or Shepherd’s Pie at the weekend to have them ready to defrost on your busy days- quick and simple!
3. Organise like a pro
Organise your kitchen efficiently, give every utensil and ingredient ‘it’s place’ in a drawer and try to ensure they are always put back after washing, that way you save time digging around in cupboards for what you need when prepping meals.
Plan your meals ahead and before you start prepping ingredients get everything you need out in advance. Everything will be within reaching distance once you start so you can prep like a pro!
4. One-pot meals
One pot means only one pot to clean. Choosing a one-pot option means you can avoid the chaos that is the after-dinner clean-up. You could even invest in a slow cooker. This is a great way to save time and water after dinner. Click here for some one-pot ideas.
5. Cool down their food QUICK
Do you sometimes feel like you spend your life blowing on porridge, soup or cheese toasties? To speed up the process when you have a whining toddler in your ear, try this: add a colder food. Throw some frozen fruit in on top of hot porridge. Throw frozen veggies or even ice cubes into soup. Pour cold milk into mash potato. You're a cool mum now.
6. Bibs for EVERYONE
Yes, we would all love if our kids had Royal Family-style table manners. However, the quicker you accept that there WILL be a spill at some stage of the meal, the quicker you can deal with it. In our opinion, no child is too big to wear a bib or an apron at the table. Busy mamas do not have time to change their little ones after EVERY meal. Even if the older ones threw on an old t-shirt before sitting down to some messy Bolognese, it would save time!