As a busy mum, it can be a tough job to look after your littles ones and cook nutritious family meals every day. It’s why I created Kiddyum, a frozen meals brand for children that helps parents to deliver healthy, nutritious meals even when they are pushed for time. In my experience, the key to weekday meal-times is to make the most of your freezer by cooking and prepping in advance so you’re never caught short. Here are my top ten tips.
I’m a real champion of batch cooking when it comes to keeping on top of mealtimes. If your freezer is running low, set a day or half a day aside to refill it. This might seem like a pain, but not only will it save you money, it will save you time and toddler tears in the long run!
Pre-prep your veggies
It’s often the peeling and chopping that takes time when batch cooking, and this is the part that most people dread! Try doing all of your prep in one day before freezing the vegetables. When you’re ready to cook, take out your pre-chopped veggies and cook from frozen. This lessens the load when making things like cottage or fish pie
Use freezer veggies
When cooking your child’s favourite dish from scratch, you can also throw in a handful of freezer veggies for added nutrition – either shop-bought, such as peas, or chopped and frozen at home
Make and freeze soup
Soup is a great option for babies and children – it’s cheap, freezable and a good way to use up the leftover veg lurking in your fridge! My mum has always made a cracking chicken soup using the leftover bones from Sunday’s roast chicken. I make this at least twice a month and both the kids and my husband love it
Remember, if you do choose to cook a meal from scratch on a weekday, you can always prepare a larger portion and freeze the leftovers for days where you’re juggling mealtimes with after school clubs!
Add instant flavour with frozen fresh herbs
Chop fresh herbs, add water and freeze in individual ice cube trays. This is a really simple and cost-effective way to add flavour into your little ones’ food
Freeze some ‘bankers’
Pick a few of your child’s favourite meals (I call them ‘bankers’) and freeze in small portions for back-up meals on busy days. You can make larger portions for yourself and adjust with added salt and spice to suit your palate
Make ‘healthy’ ice cream
It’s often hard to think of a healthy pudding. Rather than reaching for sugary yoghurts (which we all do from time to time!), make your own frozen sweet treats. Choose ready-prepared frozen fruit, which isn’t very expensive to buy, or chop up the slightly soft fruit already in your fruit bowl and freeze (banana is great for this). Remove from the freezer and blitz for a ‘healthy’ ice cream alternative. It’s also really soothing for young children who are teething!
Make sure you store and label frozen home cooked meals well – invest in some handy pots and label them, including the date you originally cooked the dish, then you can either defrost or cook straight from frozen
Take care re-heating
Take extra care in reheating meals. Make sure they are piping hot after cooking, and then leave to cool before serving.