I always find meal planning a super idea if you have little ones to take care of. I often struggle to decide what to make without thinking ahead and love to prepare in advance, my meals and my ingredients. I often find when I don’t prepare, I end up giving my kids meals that aren’t particularly healthy.
A lot of employers will be most impressed if you create a meal plan for the week, it’ll also most likely make things a lot easier for you and enable you to spend more time with the children as opposed to spending more time in the kitchen…..unless of course you plan to create a masterpiece meal with the kids in your care!
When I was a nanny and even now as a mum, I always find cooking together is a fun activity to do (and quite a lovely bonding experience) if the children are old enough and you all have the time to do so.
So….how to get started? Meal planning – I have found some great, free meal planners that you can use (see below).
Think about what food you would like to make for the next few meals. Are the children in your care vegetarian? Do the parents want you to limit their red-meat intake? It’s best to discuss this with parents before spending a lot of time on your preparations. We should all think about balanced, nutritious and healthy meals that are also yummy!
Once you know where you’re heading, get your meal plans ready and written down. Start with one week at a time, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and if certain meals go down really well, you can repeat them over the following weeks….! I’ve jotted down some ideas below that my children love.
Don’t forget to plan around your personal schedule, remember which evenings you’re going to have more time for dinner prep or less time for example after school activity days..!
Enjoy cooking and preparing !
Here are some of our favourite recipes – delicious and so simple to make:
⭐️ Shredded Bbq chicken in the slow cooker
- Season chicken breast lightly (a small pinch per breast) with some sea salt and place in your slow cooker.
- In a mixing bowl mix some BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well!
- Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover it and cook on medium heat for 3-4 hours.
- After 3/4 hours, shred the chicken with two forks then recover and let it cook for about 15 more minutes to soak up all that yummy flavour.
- Serve on break rolls, over couscous or rice, in wraps or on a salad. We love it on bread rolls with cucumber sticks on the side and roasted sweet potatoes!
⭐️ Build your own kebabs — my kids adore doing this with me!
- Baby potatoes (can boil first for 5 mins)
- Baby tomatoes
- Chicken cut into pieces
- Bbq sauce, lemon juice or any marinade you like
- Yellow, red and green peppers
- Prawns (an alternative to chicken)
- Courgettes, mushrooms or almost any veg you like !
Grill your kababs directly over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes or until the meat and/or fish is cooked throughout. After each rotation, brush the kebab with the marinade mixture to keep the meat and veg juicy and tasty!
⭐️ Salmon nuggets (with roasted baby potatoes and broccoli, peas or carrots)
- Remove the skin from two salmon fillets and chop them into bite sized chunks.
- In one bowl add 1/3 cup of flour. In a second bowl crack in two eggs and whisk with a fork. In a third bowl add 1 cup of panko breadcumbs and mix in one teaspoon of dried mixed herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
- Make the nuggets by taking one chunk of salmon, coating it in the flour, dip it in the egg and then sprinkle on the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the nuggets have been made.
- Lightly grease a baking dish and place the nuggets into it. Bake in the oven at 220c for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.
⭐️ Breaded chicken tenders (great for taking out on a picnic too!)
- Preheat oven to 200c degrees. Set wire cooling rack over a large rimmed baking sheet. Spray rack with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small shallow bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, a large of pinch garlic powder, one large pinch of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan. In another small bowl, beat 4 egg whites or two eggs.
- Plonk each tender first in the egg whites, then in the bread crumbs, pressing to coat. Put the coated tenders on a plate as you go, repeating the plonking process until all the tenders are coated.
- In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add half the tenders (3-4 breasts) and cook until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is golden brown, another 3 minutes more. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan, and repeat the cooking process with the remaining tenders.
- Bake until the tenders are golden brown and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
- Dip into any dressing / ketchup / sauce you desire and enjoy!
And here are some fab websites to browse for inspiration…!