Monday, January 27, 2014
Cooking Once, Eating Twice. Making Dinners into Lunches.
One of the biggest daily challenges I face is cooking healthy lunches for a group of six including picky eaters, and packed lunches. Jon needs a packed lunch ready by 8am, so we've been packing him leftovers from last nights dinner and then I cook something separate for the kids. The problem is that feeding four toddlers (I run an at home day care), cleaning up after them and then doing the dishes is a lot of time that I'm distracted and they're up to all sorts or (albeit adorable) mischief. I would love to have that extra time to spend with them doing projects, reading books and enriching little minds.
About two weeks ago, we switched to doubling the dinner recipes. It's almost no extra work, and the lunches are great! How many day care centers can say they feed the kids chicken picatta and asparagus? Eventually, the goal is to be doing batch cooking and long term menu planning again, but I'm baby stepping my way back to that (Do you baby step? It means making small sustainable changes towards your ultimate goal so you can easily meet your goals over time. I'm a huge fan.)
For instance, As I write this, I have a giant pot of homemade sloppy joe simmering (grab the recipe here... I don't even like canned sloppy joe sauce, but this stuff is mouth watering delicious). This will be our dinner, and after I'm done serving, I'll pack Jon's lunch for tomorrow and make up our plates. When lunch rolls around tomorrow, I just have to microwave a few plates and I'm all done!
Breakfasts are easy in our house. We eat according to the recommendation of the USDA, a fruit and a whole grain since we have the day care. With this plan, I'm only really cooking one meal per day, and then just quick prepping the other meals and snacks.
Give it a shot, it beats the monotony of turkey and cheese sandwiches every day, or the expense of the Chinese place right next to your office.