Lockdown has put busy parents into one of two camps: either we have some have extra time to spend with our family because work has had to slow or come to a stop for whatever reason, or we’re struggling with the juggle of work, home school, childcare and household chores.
Some days, feeding the family will be very hard, that’s for certain, but there are ways to make life that little bit easier. Here are my tips for feeding the family during lockdown.
In lockdown with extra time?
- Try something new
Use your extra time to look for new meal ideas and try them out so that you have extra meals to add to the family dinnertime repertoire. You’ll be thankful when back to your busy daily routine after lockdown that you have a wider range of meals to fall back on.
- Batch cook
Use your time wisely by doing some batch cooking. Stock up the freezer for when life returns to normal and we’re all rushing around with limited time to cook. Homemade ready meals will come to your rescue.
- Cook together
See cooking as an activity you can do with your children, spending quality time with them. Your cooking activities don’t always need to be about baking, but can be focused on getting dinner on the table quicker later.
Home schooling is about more than maths and literacy. We’ve been gifted time to teach our children essential life skills that we may not have been able to teach them were we to be carrying on life as normal.
Embrace the mess! Prepare for a cooking session like you would any craft activity by allowing plenty of time for it and having everything ready to go (for example, utensils and ingredients out). Bear in mind that you’re going to need clean up time too!
- Implement a routine
If there’s a constant request for snacks from your children, set a meal and snack routine to ensure there’s a steady supply of food throughout the day and use this as an opportunity to get a variety of foods into you and your family.
Snack times can be seen as mini meals which include a balance of fruit, veg, protein and carbs which will help keep children fuller for longer and reduce the nagging for food.
Struggling with the juggling?
- Plan ahead
Meal planning is the answer to so many problems, whether in lockdown or not. But for those of us juggling more hats than we care to think about, it’s going to be key to survival!
Meal planning will make it easier to feed everyone three meals a day plus snacks and will cut down the shopping trips.
Spend a little time thinking about the dishes you can make for the week so you can get on with preparing a meal without having to scratch around for ideas when everyone’s already hungry.
You’ll find more help with meal planning and feeding the family over on my website.
- Make best use of your time, energy and ingredients
You can do this by thinking about what else you can make or what you might be able to cook extra of whilst you’re cooking tea one night.
Can you cook extra rice, pasta, potatoes, grains, pulses, meat, fish or veg that will make another meal quicker and easier or that combined with bits and pieces from another few days will make up a couple of lunches?
Can you double the quantity of a meal so that you can put some in the freezer for another week or so that you can turn what’s left into lunch or dinner the next day?
How about breakfast? Could you make enough overnight oats, for example, to last two days and prepare a fruit salad or fruit compote to go with it as well as for the children to snack on throughout the day?
Meal planning will really help make this easier.
- Shop local
Save time queuing and have a more pleasant and quiet shopping experience by shopping local. Local small businesses are going to be fighting for survival and need your help. Many are delivering their goods too as they’re adapting their businesses to meet the needs of their community.
- Eat family-style
Don’t make this time any more stressful by cooking a different meal for everyone, instead serve meals ‘family-style’. All that means is putting all the food in the middle of the table on dishes and platters for everyone to help themselves to what they fancy rather than plating up individual meals. Anything leftover can be put in the fridge for another meal or snack.
About Sarah Alder
Sarah Alder of Kitchen Titbits is a meal planning and family mealtimes expert, transforming mealtimes from stressful to stress-free.
To find out more about Sarah, her courses, workshops and online programmes, visit her website.