You work an eight-hour day and have an hour’s commute. Your dad needs you to stop by his house and prepare dinner for him. You have kids at home, a dog to walk, and household chores to catch up on. It’s too much, but you do it because your dad needs you and won’t consider moving in with you. Save time by planning meals in advance. Hire in-home care providers to lessen your load so you can take a break.
Here are some of the best meal preparation tips to help you save time when it comes to cooking dinners for your family and your dad.
Plan Menus in Advance and Shop Online
Sit down with your dad and plan his meals for a week or even better the entire month. As you decide what he wants, use sticky notes or an app to keep track of the meals he wants.
Go through his cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator to see what he’s missing. Build a shopping list and take him shopping for everything he needs. Do this as early in the day as you can, as you want the rest of the day to prepare items.
Consider building your shopping list online and arranging for delivery or curbside pick-up of that grocery order. You’ll save a lot of time. Leave detailed instructions for the shopper in case substitutions are needed. The more the shopper knows, the higher the odds of getting exactly what you need.
Prep on Weekends and Freeze As Much As You Can
Once you have all of the items, prepare what you can. Blanch vegetables to move them to the freezer until they’re needed. If there are vegetables you don’t want to freeze, wash them in vinegar and store them in the refrigerator.
When you are at your dad’s house, make large batches of grains like brown rice, cooked barley, and quinoa. Move it into freezer containers or bags, write the item and date on freezer labels, and store it in the freezer.
For proteins like meats and seafood, slice or cube them as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Put them in a freezer bag and add the marinade you need for recipes you plan to make. Move them to the freezer until they’re needed.
Cook large batches of dried legumes like pinto beans or black-eyed peas and let them drain and cool. Freeze those, too. The idea is to freeze as many staple ingredients as you can. When you need them for a meal, thaw them in the fridge. They’ll cook in no time.
Get Rid of Kitchen Clutter
If a kitchen is too cluttered, it can make it hard to find room to prepare meals. There’s no counter space for your cutting board, so you have to stop and figure out where to put things.
Depending on the size of the kitchen, a rolling cart with storage and a marble or stainless steel top can be helpful in having a prep surface. The smooth surface cleans up easily and is ideal for kneading doughs.
Put small appliances that aren’t used daily in the storage area of the cart. This includes appliances like a blender, stand mixer, and toaster. Move as much off the counters as possible.
Hire In-Home Care Aides to Prepare Your Dad’s Meals
Between your job, your children, and your dad’s care, do you have time left for yourself? You can’t ignore self-care. Your physical and mental health depend on you to take time off every now and then.
Instead of struggling to find time to also prepare your dad’s meals, hire in-home care aides to cook for him. When you’re free, spend quality time with your dad knowing that all of the items on his to-do list have already been completed. Call our in-home care specialist to learn more.