Cooking- does it ever end?!!! It's one of these everyday household chores that can't be avoided and it' such a time drain! Especially when it is combined with tired kids, bath time and homework. To help you make through the evening we have pulled together our favourite meal prep hacks, including how to manage your shopping lists.
Managing your shopping
Let's face it, there's nothing glamorous about dealing with the food shopping but thinking of groceries and food is a massive part of our daily 'mental load'. What have we run out of? Have we got ingredients for dinner? To free up some space in your mental load we have pulled together some ways to manage your shopping and lists.
Doing your grocery shopping online will save you precious hours. You can create lists in your account for food you buy every week, Christmas, special occasions. So all you need to do is add them to your cart and check out. Click and Collect is free from Coles and Woolworths, or you can have it delivered for a fee.
Manage your shopping list with an App
There are a number of apps that help you manage your lists. One really great app is Our Groceries, everyone can have it on their phone and they can add things as they run out. Perfect for if you have a houseful of teenagers.
Cozi Family Organiser is another great app that also doubles as an entire family organiser. It's the perfect way to manage schedules and shopping.
Buy in Bulk
Shopping in bulk means shopping less often and saves time in the long run. You can get a membership to bulk buy stores like Costco or Campbells Cash and Carry (if you have an ABN). They are a great place to purchase staples that won't go off. You can also buy bulk online, such as having your toilet paper delivered by Who Gives A Crap. They produce recycled toilet paper and 50% of their money goes to building toilets in developing countries.
Meal planning will save you time and money. Knowing what you are going to eat every night reduces your mental load and makes it easier to prepare dinner. There are a number of ways you can meal plan.
Meal Planner Pad
You can get a magnetic pad for your fridge with a weekly calendar and shopping list section. There are a number available but i love the Kiki K ones the most.
Meal Planner Apps
If you like to keep everything digital there are a number of apps that can manage your meal plans for you. MealBoard is the most popular- it manages your meal plans, lists and even keeps track of your grocery items.
Meal Prep Hacks
Most of the time we just want our food prepared as fast as possible. We are juggling homework, bath time, kids going feral and we are TIRED! We are trying to stick to the routine and the food doesn't make itself. So here's some ways it pretty much can...
Shop and Chop
When you do your shopping, pre chop all your veggies and store them in container in the fridge. This cuts down your meal prep time massively! You can also chop fruit for breakfast smoothies.
If you and your family are fans of soups, stews, slow cooked meat etc then a slow cooker is what you need. Throw all the food in your slow cooker in the morning, it will be ready for dinner and you wont even need to think about it. If you make large batches you can freeze some for easy meals when you are home late. TIP: Most slow cooked meals use similar ingredients. Buy a bulk batch, chop and freeze. Then you have all your ingredients pre chopped and in the freezer for easy grabbing.
Some people find it easier spending a day doing a massive cook up. Dinners for the week, school lunches, muffins and biscuits. It may mean one full day in the kitchen but it will save you time during the week. TIP: If you have friends who want to do the same get together for a day of cooking. Alternatively, everyone cooks a bulk meal and you all swap meals. So you may have only cooked one dish, but you now have enough food a for week!
Many people swear by the Thermomix. You can make curries, soup, pasta, steam fish and chicken and even prepare dessert. It works on a 'set and forget' timer- through the food in and it will beep when ready. You can use the time to bath the kids or help with homework. It's not cheap but a lot of people believe they are worth every cent.
What are your top meal prep tips. Share them below!