Working mothers make up a sizable portion of the modern workforce. According to the United States Department of Labor, as of 2015 69.9 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 were in the labor force. Things are similar in Canada, where Statistics Canada reports single-earner families made up just 27 percent of all couple families with children in 2014, a figure that was 59 percent in 1976.
While more and more mothers are returning to work after the birth of their children, that does not mean their responsibilities at home are falling by the wayside. Time-strapped working moms tasked with preparing family meals can embrace some time-saving strategies to make mealtime a little less hectic.
Save time during prep
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, preparing meals for a family can be time-consuming. When making dinner, keep a plastic shopping bag or bowl on the counter where you can discard scraps such as the skin from onions, fat from chicken and other items that will ultimately end up in the garbage. Discarding all the items into one bag rather than walking back and forth from the garbage to your work area can save time during meal prep.
Slow things down
Another way to save time at mealtime is to use a slow cooker so meals are cooking during the day while you are at work. Chop vegetables on weekend afternoons or nights and separate ingredients into Ziploc bags or containers so all of the prep work is done ahead of time. Each morning you can simply unload the bags or containers into the slow cooker, turn it on before leaving for work and then the meal will be ready to eat by the time you and your family arrive home at night.
Many people associate online shopping with clothing and gadgets, but working moms can now buy groceries for their families online as well. Many grocery stores now offer online shopping and pickup services that allow shoppers to fill up their grocery carts before stepping foot in the store. Simply place your order online and arrange a pickup time and everything will be ready for you when you arrive at the store. This can save you the effort and time spent navigating today’s increasingly large and busy grocery stores.
Involve the whole team
Working moms who are tasked with family meal planning might want to find healthy meals for their families, but that does not mean they can’t involve the whole family when it comes time to cook. Encourage children to help when preparing meals, assigning age-appropriate tasks. And let dad do some of the work, encouraging him to fire up the grill when the weather permits.
Working mothers who play the role of family meal planner can make this role simpler by employing various time-saving strategies.