Our Ready Meals
Healthy meals, ready meals, they don’t go together like a horse and carriage. We all know that.
Healthy meals need a plan, recipes, organisation, making allowances for picky kids, and picky adults. Ready meals, also known as TV dinners, are easier.
What makes them so appealing? It’s in the name. They are always ready, our best friends. They never let us down.
At the end of a long and difficult day, when we finally get home, late, tired, hungry and cold isn’t it good to have our ready meal waiting for us? No cooking. No delay.
Pop it in the microwave – ping! All ready! Slob out on the sofa, chow down and relax. And what do you know? Zero guilt.
Zero guilt? But how can that be? We are accustomed to lots of guilt around food, especially ready meals. We all know that your friendly ready meal is actually a chemical cocktail full of salt and sugar and other unfriendly things.
But no, not our ready meal. Because with a little advance planning, like Montgomery at El Alamein, we can eat real home-cooked food in our own ready meal.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Alright, let’s not rant on too much with the meaningful sayings. Planning, preparing and freezing ahead is not too difficult or time-consuming.
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We just have to decide that we really are worth it and the food that we fuel our bodies with is seriously important. Our friendly ready meal can still be our friend with healthy sensibly-chosen ingredients.
It has been called, cook once, eat twice, but in our case ,with that bit of planning, we can cook once and eat 6 times, or whatever we like.
A New Habit
Like every new habit it will be a bit of a nuisance to begin with, but with a bit of practise it will get easier and the benefits are well worthwhile. We will have all the advantages of ready meals without the guilt, without the strange list of ingredients and with less expense.
As always, we shall start with a list.What do we need?
- A freezer.
- Plastic boxes for storage.
- Freezer bags.
- Store cupboard ingredients.
- Shopping list.
- An afternoon or evening to do the cooking.
We may need to add to this list as time goes on.
Lisa from https://www.100daysofrealfood.com sent me this information about Alison from http://prepdish.com/. It is full of good advice and even includes a very useful list about meal preparation. Here is Alison’s list.
10 Ways to Make Dinner Easier: Meal Prep
- Always have a plan! (sound familiar? LOL)
- Know which veggies can be chopped ahead of time.
- Make a big salad in advance by separating ingredients as needed to avoid some getting “soggy.
- Don’t forget to mix up marinades and dressings.
- Cook foods like grains, dried beans, and potatoes in advance.
- Don’t skimp on a good quality knife and cutting board – these should be investment pieces.
- Stock up on glass or other BPA-free storage containers (and don’t forget the labels).
- Use a trash bowl on the counter for efficiency when chopping ingredients.
- Batch tasks for further efficiency (i.e. chop everything at the same time).
- Have fun! Play music or a podcast, get kids or a spouse to pitch in, etc.
Gordon Ramsay can help us to improve our cooking skills. He can start by showing us the best way to chop an onion. This is another great benefit of using the internet. We can learn from real experts.
I guess it is also a good idea, if we are cooking for other people besides ourselves, to make sure that we cook meals that we know everyone likes.
It may not be the best time to try new and interesting recipes.
We will still make time to do that but we won’t freeze things in batches until we know that the family are actually willing to eat them.