Preparing meals and family dinners can be a daunting task, even without quarantine at hand. Self-quarantine is in full effect in many cities and countries, with kids being home-schooled and parents starting a work from home life. For many of us, not every meal was prepared at home before. Kids would eat lunch at school, and we would order lunch at work.
Preparing three family meals each day is a laborious and expensive feat, especially for families experiencing financial uncertainty. Safe trips to the grocery store are minimized to usually once a week, and fresh produce can be difficult to find. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can prepare family meals safely during the quarantine. Read on to see how.
Since takeout is not always available, you will need to prepare the majority of your meals at home. Planning your meals ahead of grocery shopping will save you time, nerves, and even money. You can just go to the store and quickly get everything on your list. Reserve a time to plan out meals for the next week, down to every ingredient you will need.
Create a meal plan for each day, or use this opportunity to batch cook meals to reheat during the weak, and minimize preparation time. Gather your family for their input on what they would like to eat so you can plan accordingly, and bring some happiness and comfort with their favourite food.
When you have decided on the meals for the week, it’s time to see which of them you can make at once, and freeze for the next days. This will greatly cut down on meal prep time each day. Make a plan and stick with it. After the grocery run, prepare as much as you can that day and freeze food divided for each day.
Batch cooking means preparing large quantities of a certain food to eat for the next couple of days. Even if you eat a certain dish two days in a row, you won’t get tired of it. It would be best to choose several dishes that you can prepare often, and just rotate them every week.
Focus on healthy food
No more takeout and restaurants. This hopefully means you will use this time to prepare and eat healthier food. It’s easy to fall into a trap of snacking the whole day. This will lead to poor nutrition, health problems, and weight gain.
Healthy home-cooked meals will fill you up and provide comfort in these uncertain times. Use this time to strengthen your cooking skills, and even do an experiment or two if possible. Your meals don’t have to be fancy, health and efficiency is what’s important.
If you are lucky to have restaurants and shops in your city that provide food delivery, why not use that? Companies and restaurants that offer delivery or contactless pick-ups with strict hygiene protocols are safe to use, and they can greatly help you if you are unable to cook or go grocery shopping. Deliveries can include all produce, fruits and vegetables, and even fresh meat that companies like Sutcliffe Meats provide.
Include the whole family
Everybody has to eat, so everyone should help in the kitchen. Assign tasks to your family members like cutting vegetables, setting the table, and washing the dishes. This will help your kids understand what goes into making a meal, and build their skills for the future.
Another good option is to limit the use of dishes. Everyone gets a single cup, plate, and utensils. They have to clean it themselves for each meal. This will greatly reduce the number of dishes each day.
Mealtime doesn’t have to be a burden if you plan in advance. Use this time to get closer to your family members, and create fun memories even in difficult times. Try to relax whenever you can, and pick up a new hobby if you can.
By Patrick Adams
Patrick Adams is a freelance writer and rock-blues fan. When he is not writing about home improvement, he loves to play chess, watch basketball, and play his guitar. More than anything, he loves to spend his time in his garage, repairing appliances and creating stuff from wood.