Someone needs to tell these people that working mums have been feeding their families fast, nutritious food on a budget for years. I have a homecooked meal on the table within 30 minutes of arriving home (and a load of washing in the washer).
For what it's worth, here's my master plan (apologies if I'm preaching to the converted - any other tips gladly received):
- Judicious shopping - I look out for BOGOF offers on staples such as tea, coffee, dried pasta, I go to Iceland for quality, branded products at a cheaper price and I (sometimes) go to my local greengrocer.
- This is crucial - PLAN AHEAD. Each week I sit down and plan the meals we are going to have based on cost, time available and a varied and balanced diet. This also eliminates waste as I plan the use of ingredients over several meals.
- Befriend the freezer - even if only a small fridge freezer it can make life easier. At the weekend I cook double portions (eg bolognese, chilli) or even two meals at once (I have been known to whip up a shepherd's pie whilst doing a Sunday roast) and freeze ahead for the week. Tesco (TGFT) 'value' foodsavers cost next to nothing and are a life saver.
- Make your own convenience foods - it's not difficult to grate a block of cheese and freeze it in freezer bags, homemade mash freezes very well and homemade soups and pasta sauces cost next to nothing and can be frozen in individual portions.
- Befriend the microwave - frozen ahead meals can be defrosted and cooked in minutes
- Befriend the oven timer - a frozen ahead casserole can defrost in the oven during the day, then be cooked on the timer so I enter the house to the smell of homecooked food!
(Does it help to know that about once a month I resort to a takeaway on a Friday when I'm just too exhausted?)