How to cook for your family when you are the only one on WW
Are you feeling burnt-out as the head meal planner and chef in the family? Do you find yourself making multiple meals every night so that you can stay on track with your eating plan (while also working around food sensitivities, allergies, and preferences?) Catering to everyone’s dietary demands is difficult and can take up a significant amount of your valuable time, especially when you add up the time it takes to do the grocery shopping. This simple method, which involves batch cooking individual, versatile ingredients (with the help of your family), could be the exact solution you’re looking for and will impart your healthy habits on your whole family.
Prepare a week’s worth of versatile leftovers at a time (with the help of your family)
One trip to the grocery store and an afternoon spent preparing and cooking food will produce almost a full week’s worth of meals for your entire family. Choose a hardy grain, two lean proteins, several types of fruits and vegetables, pasta sauce, and yogourt (or other dairy or non-dairy product), these will be the foundation of each meal. For dinner, each family member is free to use the prepped leftovers as inspiration for a meal (or for a meal for younger children.) Everyone is free to prep and add other ingredients as needed to their own meals.
On WW you will probably already be focusing your meals around your favourite ZeroPoint foods. By batch prepping healthier options, you are setting yourself up for success, while sharing your healthy habits with your family.
Not only does this technique reduce the time you spend cooking and cleaning up, it’s the perfect opportunity for your family to learn new kitchen skills and get involved with healthy meal planning. Don’t forget clean-up, either. From washing the dishes to taking the compost out to sweeping, help from your family will give everyone an equal chance to relax after dinner.
Experiment with grains and other starches: Quinoa, wild rice, barley, bulgur, farro, couscous, and orzo can be stored cooked in the fridge for up to five days. Make sure the cooked grains are as dry and cool as possible before transferring to a sealed container. Toss the couscous and orzo with a small amount of olive or sesame oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Choose a neutral protein: Good options include hard boiled eggs, yogourt, roasted chicken or turkey breast, marinated tofu and canned tuna – all ZeroPoints foods. Fresh fish should be eaten within two days of being cooked, and shellfish should be eaten within 24 hours.
Have fruits and veggies handy: Depending on the age of your children, you can leave raw fruits and vegetables whole or, for younger children, cut into smaller pieces. Roast a selection of vegetables on rimmed baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. Roasted sweet peppers, carrots, onions, garlic, butternut squash, grape tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
Keep it saucy: Marinara sauce, teriyaki sauce, ratatouille, salsa, and tzatziki all have the power to transform even the most basic of ingredients into a memorable meal. Keep your family’s favourite sauces on hand and don’t stress about using store bought versions for the sake of convenience (look for low sodium, low sugar options whenever possible.)
Batch cook your favourites (for yourself)
Even if you’re responsible for the majority of meal planning and cooking in your family, there will inevitably be meals which you don’t feel comfortable eating (or that you just don’t like.) Batch cooking and then portioning out a couple of your favourite healthy recipes gives you the option to eat the foods you love with the people you love. Crustless quiches, marinated chicken breasts, veggie burger patties, homemade soups, and healthy burritos can be stored in large freezer resealable bags and then frozen without taking up excessive amounts of space.