It's 5pm. Any idea what you're making for dinner? If you're like most of us freelancers (and all busy moms, for that matter), you probably don't. Pizza delivery to the rescue, right? Maybe drive thru instead?
Time's a problem with most of today's families, but it can be crippling for freelancers living at the mercy of clients and their needs.
You're not alone.
We've all been standing there - in the door of the pantry - staring. Wondering.
But, it doesn't have to be that way.
It's Not Your Fault
You've fallen victim to the most profitable industry in the world: marketing. Marketers have done their jobs right when you see that KFC commercial and then feel a need to get up and run to the closest Southern Fried deliciousness.
Couple their skills with the idea that you don't have time to cook and they win every time.
Perception's The Key
As freelancers and writerpreneurs, we're geared to gauge how long it'll take us to do things - it's the nature of our business. Time is money and we have to know how to judge it. But, when we don't have a lot of experience with a particular kind of assignment, it may be hard for us to know how long it will take. So we think, "Cooking takes too long, I'll just open the box of Hamburger Helper instead."
You think it takes a long time to put together a healthy meal, so you just avoid it altogether.
If not practiced, actually cooking feels like another daunting To-Do, so you delegate it to someone (or something) else.
5 Easy Steps You Can Take Today
Let go of your misperceptions and open up to the positive.
This is going to be as easy as you think it is.
1. PLAN YOUR PROJECT - You never approach a writing assignment or your own content creation without a plan. Why do you do it with your nutrition? Plan your meals and your snacks - and pack them.
- Nuts and seeds are super travelers. Always keep a bag in the car.
- Instead of grabbing snack packs as you walk out the door to practice, throw some carrots, grapes, or other fruit in a ziplock bag.
- Prepare your menu 14 days at a time. I don't plan day by day, but I plan 14 meals at a time and then I choose what I feel like eating on that day. It leaves space for creative freedom, but allows me to make sure I have the right ingredients when I need them.
2. TREAT IT LIKE A DEADLINE- Yes, things come up, but you have to make an effort to meet your dinnertime deadline. You don't slack off when it comes to projects you're paid for, don't slack off when it comes to yours and your family's health (the indirect ROI on your health is invaluable).
- Allow yourself at least an hour and a half of prep/cook time. If dinner's at 5, then by 3:30, you should be getting your planned meal ready.
- A trick that works well for me is cooking dinner on my lunch break, then I don't get swamped in the afternoon.
3. COLLABORATE- Find out what your family loves and spend time together preparing it. Even the smallest kids can help out in the kitchen. Nope, they can't work as fast we want them to, but anything they do will make them feel special. The more special kids feel the stronger their bonds are. And what could be better than nourishing their bodies and their relationships?
4. MULTITASK (Yes, you can in this case) - What works best for me is cooking two (or more) meals at once. This way, I cook every two - three days instead of everyday. Knowing that we've got classes and soccer and I've got a deadline coming up means I'm freeing up the days I know I won't have time to cook. It also keeps the fridge stocked of fresh food so there's no temptation to heat and eat prefabbed foods.
- Have main two dishes cooking while you prep the side dishes for the day.
- Or double your amounts and make enough for two meals.
- You can also cook enough of one dish that you can use it twice and repurpose it for the second use (i.e. rice for two different kinds of meals).
5. LET GO OF PERFECTION - Don't worry if you fall off the "Cook At Home" wagon. Sometimes you just can't do it, in spite of your planning and effort. But, if you HAVE to pick up something, pick it up from your closest whole food establishment. Subs are full of preservatives - they don't count. Fast food burgers are full of filler crap.
- Hit the ethnic markets.
- Or pick up a whole rotisserie chicken from Wal Mart (I know you have one of those around).
- Then, make tomorrow Day 1 all over again. Don't throw in the towel if you stumble. Do it again tomorrow.
These 5 tips make my life easier and helps me get from the fridge to the table without relying on pre made frozen stuff.
I'd love to hear your tips - and I bet there are some struggling readers out there that'd love to, too! Let us know in the comments what you do to make sure you've got whole healthy foods on the table for your family.
If you enjoyed this post, I'd really appreciate it if you'd share:) You never know, the people that you share it with just might be looking for help getting it all done. Thanks so much!