Meal Planning for the Busy Work-from-Home Dad

Meal planning for the work-from-home dad

While working from home offers you extra flexibility, it also presents some organisational challenges. Having to juggle a work-life balance can be hard with your busy schedule, which is why it helps to be organised.

Meal planning saves precious time and also reduces the hassle of having to make last minute decisions.It saves money because grocery shopping becomes more focused and it reduces the tendency to impulse buy.

 Benefits of planning meals

  • Saves time that you can spend working or with your family
  • Reduces the chances of eating fast food or ordering meals
  • Increases and improves family time

Helpful tips

With menu planning, you can plan meals for your family up to a month in advance. You can also decide which meals you would like to plan ahead for – be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are some tips and tricks for how you can set yourself a routine for your daily meals.

  1. Keep it simple – Don’t overcomplicate things. Just think of simple meal ideas that you and your family would enjoy eating.
  2. Inventory – Take an inventory of what you have in your freezer, fridge and pantry.
  3. Staples – Make a list of the staples you would need like milk, sugar, flour etc, so you can pick them up the next time you go grocery shopping.
  4. Planning – Plan your meals around your weekly schedule. It is a lot healthier and cheaper to pre-plan meals than to eat out or order in on days when you have no time to cook.
  5. Cook large portions – When cooking a meal, double or triple the portion size so you can freeze anything extra.

Easy-to-make recipes

Here are a few simple recipes that you can use as a guideline when meal planning for your family. You can tweak these recipes with the ingredients you have at home and those that you would love to eat.

Frittata

This Italian dish is a warm and welcoming meal. It is easy to make and goes well with a range of ingredients.

Preparation:

  • Heat a tbsp. of butter or olive oil in an oven-safe non-stick pan
  • Add cooked ingredients that you have at home (veggies, chicken, shrimp, deli meats etc.)
  • Beat 6-10 eggs with pepper and salt (depending on how big you want your Frittata to be)
  • Add the egg mixture to the pan
  • Sprinkle on cheese if you like
  • Leave it in a 350° oven for 15-30 mins until it sets

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a great option for a meal that does not need too much cooking time and can be quickly put together. The only important ingredient to make fried rice is pre-cooked cold rice.

Preparation:

  • Heat some canola/peanut oil in a large pan
  • Sauté some chopped garlic, ginger and spring onions and/or shallots
  • Add thinly sliced carrots, chopped broccoli or other vegetables until tender
  • Toss in some cooked vegetables or meats
  • Stir in the cold rice and then a beaten egg
  • Sauté until the egg is cooked
  • Finish with a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil

As you get more comfortable with planning meals and balancing your work schedule, you can experiment with different recipes.  Eventually, you could create a folder or binder to save recipes you’ve used in previous weeks and use them on a rotational basis.