Happy New Year! I’m sure everyone is looking forward to a better 2022. 2021 was an interesting year for me, had some amazing wins and a few not so amazing things happen. One of the most exciting things that happened (besides starting this blog of course) is that we found our dream house in the English countryside – it’s magic, it even has a traditional kitchen garden (imagine all the amazing food I would grow in it I keep thinking) but there have been various setbacks and delays with the house purchase. But hopefully this will be sorted out soon and I’ll be so excited to share future blog posts about my kitchen garden adventures.

But yes it’s back to starting 2022 with work/life as a working parent. I’ve decided this year that this is the year to really focus on things that matter to me – my family, friends, health, being present for my wonderful daughter Willow and to get back to healthier eating habits (but of course indulge from time to time, life is too short). It’s really important for me to get organised with our meals – not only from a logistics and time perspective but also have some kind of nutritional content, otherwise it will be a slippery slope of takeaways which (a) cost money and (b) is not that healthy.

There are so many things out there on how to meal prep for the week ahead and they are all really helpful. But I find it really hard to sustain – creating an elaborate meal plan, doing a huge cook on a Sunday and have everything perfectly portioned for the days ahead. That is living the dream but unfortunately that may not be a luxury for working parents with young children.

What I find helpful is to plan on a FRIDAY for the following Monday. This really helps set us up for the week. It seems intuitive to plan your meals on a Sunday for the week ahead but it’s too late already – you have to use so much energy planning what to eat, buy the food and then potentially prep a few things in advance.

Lately, I’ve even tried to be more proactive by just thinking about potential meal ideas on a Wednesday and book an online food shop for Sunday morning on standby and then on a Friday, I find 15 minutes to really think about what I want to plan for food, and really, the main focus is on dinners. Lunches are a bonus but what I try to do is cook extra portions for dinner so there are potential leftovers for lunch. Otherwise I keep lunches super simple so there is less thinking. During winter right now, lentil soups or a hearty wrap are my go to options. Once I actually have an idea for what to cook for dinner, I look at what ingredients I need and then add this to my online shop that is due on Sunday.

Now this is the important bit to make meal preps realistic and doable – have a plan but be open to flexibility if something out of your control makes it impossible to make that dinner you had planned and have a contingency. So my contingies are:

  1. Always have some pasta and some pesto (homemade frozen or store bought jar )and some frozen peas and lardons to hand. If you get derailed – this meal should literally take 10 minutes to make – cook some pasta, reheat the pesto and if you have some time, throw in some fried lardons. Cheese on top to garnish
  2. Meal prep some ready to go meals – some ideas include frozen pre-cooked fried rice (this can literally be reheated in the microwave within 5 minutes), frozen lasagne (just throw in the oven), or reheat pre-frozen hearty lentil or bean soups (this will keep you and family full due to the lentils/beans)
  3. Fried noodles – if all else fails, get a noodle kit from the supermarket with fresh noodles, sauce and veggies and protein (meat/seafood/tofu) and this can be done quickly. Still healthier than a takeaway and much cheaper

But I detract, back to actually meal prepping for the week….

My Friday routine is:

  1. List out the days – Monday to Sunday and then whatever comes to my head I add as a dinner idea
  2. I pull out some of my healthy eating cook books/food I’m craving cookbooks and then skim through for some recipes and then add that to my meal plan
  3. Order relevant groceries online

I hope you find this routine interesting and would be very keen on your thoughts if this works for you. And remember, if you are busy, always have some backup frozen food or a stir fry noodle back-up option. Life is too short to try to be too rigid with your meal planning – it should work around your lifestyle not the other way round.

Some of the cookbooks I look to for inspiration
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  1. Richard Jaques January 9, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Looks Good, need to make room in our freezer.


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