They say that tidying the house with kids around the house is like boiling water in a sieve. This is true. Also true is that cooking a nutritious, wholesome meal with one or more small people around is like herding cats.
We are constantly bombarded with information about how important a healthy diet is, so the guilt from instant meals or heat and eats drives us to chop, roast, stir fry and steam every evening – but how on earth do we do so without completely losing our marbles and turning into Shouty Mummy, turning our lovely serene earth mother day on its head by turning you into a ranting lunatic?
It’s possible. Below are five ways to get dinner cooked and on the table without it turning into a battle. As for getting them to eat that nutritious dinner? Sorry, that’ a whole other article.
1 Fake Recipes
Take one egg, some flour, some milk and maybe some mushed up bananas. Place in bowl. Give bowl to kid along with whisk. Tell them they are baking a cake. While they whisk you can get on with cooking dinner. Pretend to put their cake in the oven and whip out one you (or, more realistically, the Coles bakery) prepared earlier when the time comes to present their creation to them. It really does work and because they are in the kitchen with you, you can chat about what you are doing, talk about the healthy dinner you’re making and so on.
2 Slow Cook
For those of you who have not yet discovered the glory of the slow cooker: get on it. While the kids are devouring their morning porridge, throw meat, veg and sauce into a slow cooker and voila! All you have to do at night is dish it up. Plus, the house smells delicious all day.
3 Pan Banging
For younger toddlers, the chance to bang pan lids together undisturbed is like heaven on earth. It also keeps them still and away from hot water, pans and steam, while remaining in your sights. It’s also very tough on the eardrums. This is my least favourite distraction technique, but it is one of the most effective. Invest in some ear plugs for this one.
4 Batch Cook
This is the nest idea: Spend a Sunday afternoon or evening cooking for the week, freeze, and serve daily. If you are anything like me, you often lack energy on a Sunday night, but even if it is the odd week, or just two or three pre-prepared meals, it really is a big help.
5 Mummy’s Little Helper
No, I’m not talking about wine. I’m talking about turning your child into our little helper. If I give my daughter some baby wipes and an instruction to clean the dining table, she’s absorbed for ages. My dining table never needed cleaning; but the way she focusses on cleaning those legs, you’d think they were caked in grease. The more fuss I make of the great job she’s done, the more likely she is to keep it up every time I ask
Can you share any other crazy tips?