Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's For Dinner, Hon?

If you're married for years and this is a daily question, it just becomes really taxing. For a working mom like me, reporting to work 5 times a week, dinner can be something that is totally up to my handy dandy helpers. However, I cannot always guarantee that we get a healthy meal on the table and that kids eat the right amount of nutrients they need.
So how can a working mom ensure that her family gets the healthiest meals possible and still concentrate during a meeting or a presentation? The answer: PLAN AHEAD. Here are some helpful tips:

1. Make a MENU for the WEEK list. For me, I make a list either Monday to Friday or until Saturday. Basically make a list of what's for dinner for 5-6 days. Yes, it loses that spontaneity when it comes to dinner but at least that's one less thing on my mind. For breakfast and lunch, it's usually free style. I'm blessed to have helper that is a good cook and is also conscious of eating healthy so I let her decide what to cook for breakfast provided the ingredients that I bought (still in control, eh? you betcha.)

2. Make the Wet Market List based on the menu for the week. This doesn't only organize our weekly meal, it also helps me control the food budget weekly. Yes, you also have to compute how many carrots, onions, potatoes, pieces of ginger or leeks you need based on the menu.
Before Sophie started going to school, it's just dinner meals that I plan ahead but now that she needs regular baon to school, I now include this in our weekly grocery list. I have to make sure that she eats healthy too in school. Konting bitbit bangko moment here: Sophie's teacher commended her baon during a Parent-Teacher conference saying it's really healthy and mukhang pinag-isipan. Yay! :)

Going back to grocery list, if you prefer going to the wet market for your daily fresh meat and seafood supply, the list has to be ready as early as 6am so that helper (or you) can go to the wet market in the morning. Why wet market? Aside from produce being fresh and cheaper, you can make tawad, of course! hehe. Honestly, when I have to buy meat or chicken from the grocery I have to smell it first before I buy. It's not always fresh in the grocery, I had to learn that the hard way so even if the meat attendants give me that weird look, I'd still smell each piece of chicken fillet before I put it in my plastic.

3. Make a Grocery List - of the things that you can't buy from the wet market or things that are safer naman if you buy from the grocery like the bread, sugar, cheese,etc. This is where I also buy our breakfast and lunch ingredients, fish and other fillets which are not available in wet market.

Some tips for healthy baon, try to make it homemade if you can. There are so many recipes online that you can download. For instance, Sophie loves chicken and fish nuggets so instead of buying the commercial nuggets, I make our own using recipes online. It's so easy and no preservatives. Speaking of preservatives, please don't use powdered flavoring to speed up or aid cooking, it's just not fair to your family. A simple salt, pepper, sugar will do the trick. Go for natural ingredients.
There are moments when you are just out of idea what to put down in your MENU list. Imagine doing that every single week for years? I suggest you also get the family's suggestion. I even ask the helper, what do you feel like eating? hehe :) I love to collect cookbooks so I also get ideas from those but the internet is such a valuable tool for moms.

Have a happy healthy dinner everyone!

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