With the fussy eaters, vegetarians, crap cooks, food intolerance and sport-related nutritional requirements, deciding what to feed my family isn’t what you would call easy. And, yes, I admit, I feature in many of those categories myself (my husband would argue I feature in all of them).
Add into the mix the pressures of school, work and the kids’ many and varied activities and it becomes a complete nightmare.
Take today for instance. My Mum and Dad are currently taking the boys to their swimming lesson, for which I am eternally grateful. One less stress for me. The downside of this is I get home from work at 6pm with the clock ticking towards get-ready-for-bed time and a bunch of hungry kids to feed.
As I leave work I am mentally turning over all the possibilities in my head. How to meet the need for food quickly, how to use up the food we have available and, yes, how to justify cooking myself the same pasta and vegetables I eat nearly every night.
For the kids, there is only one solution. Microwave meals. It’s either that or McDonald’s, which just slightly trumps the micorwave meals in the devil’s-own-food stakes.
But then there’s another problem. Tomorrow. The kids used to eat before my daughter’s swimming lesson, but now she has a dance lesson before swimming, therefore no time for her to eat. This should be a temporary thing for the next couple of weeks, but could go on for the foreseeable future, depending on the availability of swimming lessons next term.
Can she eat microwave meals two days running? Maybe she could have beans on toast? Does she even LIKE beans on toast? She likes beans and she likes toast, but with my family liking beans AND toast is no guarantee of liking beans ON toast. So, yes, I have decided she can have another microwave meal tomorrow.
I can almost hear you saying ‘just put a pizza in the oven’. But that takes 20 minutes! And a microwave meal takes less than three. When you eat as slowly as my girl, every second counts.
Talking of pizza though, that was another thing whizzing through my head as I walked to the car park after work. We have a rather large pizza in the fridge rapidly heading for it’s best before date – a Daddy impulse BOGOF purchase, not well thought out at all. Who can eat it – and when? My husband can have half tonight, but will the remainder last for the boys’ tea tomorrow (hastily cooked and eaten during the dance class)?
So that’s the kids and Daddy sorted out. I won’t touch the pizza with a barge pole, yep, I’m the wheat intolerant one with sport nutrition concerns, so I stick with my staple wheat-free pasta and big pile of vegetables cooked in Dolmio.
I’m not one of these adults who can be all sophisticated and wait until after the kids have gone to bed to bed to eat. And not only because my kids are rarely in bed before 9. I just get too damn hungry. My preferred time to eat is 5pm, but being a proper grown-up with a job and married to another proper grown-up with a job, I usually eat around 6.30 or 6.45.
Which is earlier than I get back from my daughter’s swimming lesson tomorrow. So I’ll just have to have a microwave meal.
So to recap – and it helps me with my meal planning:
Today – three kids’ microwave meals, half a pizza with jacket potato and green beans for hubby (bet you thought I cooked it without vegetables, didn’t you?) and wheat free pasta and veg for me.
Tomorrow – half a pizza shared between two boys at 4.30, microwave kids’ lasagne at 6.50 and two microwave grown up’s curries at approximately 7pm.
Aren’t you jealous? Bet you wish you could come and live in our house!