Coach 'N Tell: Can Cooking Time Be Quality Time?
We're all busy, right? But when Marsha, our Get Cooking! Healthy Habits coaching client, rattled off her schedule, my jaw dropped. She arrives at work at 7 or 8 AM every morning, picks up her daughter from kindergarten around 5PM, drives another 20 to 30 minutes to get home, works 2 nights per week in addition (and sometimes Saturdays). Her husband works Tuesday through Saturday, and is rarely home before 6:30. Breakfast is a egg white wrap from Starbucks; lunch and dinner is a frozen microwaveable meal, a drive-through sandwich, or take-out pizza.
She's cooking twice a week now: making tacos, spaghetti, and no, we don't count those microwaveable meals as "cooking." Her March goal is to cook three more times per week than she already does. That makes a grand total of five for this week.
There's more than a time crunch to Marsha's cooking challenge; when she was pregnant she had gestational diabetes. When her daughter was born, she decided to make a big change and used Weight Watchers to lose the weight. She became a lifetime member.
Though Marsha grew up on Happy Meals® and fast food, she's intent on creating home-cooked meals for her 5 1/2-year-old daughter, Trinity. Like so many parents, she wants to set a good example. But there's no time to cook during the week, and Marsha is zonked by the weekend. If she has free time, she wants quality family time, not to be working away in the kitchen.
But guess what? Trinity loves to help her mama out in the kitchen. So if Marsha re-cast the "chore" of cooking, and considered that weekend kitchen time quality family time and cooked with Trinity, that could change the way she thought about cooking. Plus, if Marsha can cook a few dishes at once, she'll have a fridge that's stocked for the week, all while spending time with her daughter engaged in something they love to do together.
Sounds like a plan! This weekend, Marsha's going to make this Italian Frittata, which she can enjoy during the week as lunch or breakfast, slow cooker Thai-Style Pork Stew (let's take a minute to acknowledge the slow cooker, the best thing that ever happenned to working parents), and this Shepard's Pie, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Go get 'em, Marsha. And readers, we'll give you an update next week on how this turned out for Marsha and her family. In the meantime, if you've got any favorite slow-cooker recipes, please share them; Marsha's husband Jason has been known to prep a mean slow-cooker dinner, and would be inclined to follow a hearty, healthy slow cooker recipe if you've got a favorite.
See you next week!