Multitasking Meal Preparation
Picky eating in kids is commonplace, and something that can make meal preparation extremely tricky and time-consuming for parents – especially when it means being forced to cook individual meals for different members of the household.
While you may be employing longer-term strategies to broaden your children’s diets and move away from fussy eating, in the meantime, there’s ways to make sure you’re not spending longer on dinner than you want to.
Dinner alignment can happen in a number of ways, though substitution (aligning ingredients to make multiple meals), multitasking (aligning cooking techniques to prepare multiple meals at once) or the holy grail, aligning tastes (enticing your kids to eat more broadly).
Substitution is the easiest way to cut down on meal prep right off the bat. One of the most straightforward ways to go about this, is to make a base meal and then sub ingredients in to please the entire table. The swapping in of chicken or tofu is a common one when meat-eaters are dining with vegetarians.
Especially flexible dishes are the staples – rice dishes (such as risotto) and pasta dishes, where two variations of pasta sauce can be made. For instance, a spaghetti bolognaise might not fit the bill with vegetarians, so making another sauce option using lentils instead of mince is a lot easier than concocting an entirely new menu option.
The next level to substitution is preparing things ‘buffet style’, where lunches and dinners are prepped at a base level and the people can add their own options themselves. Recipes like Thai beef salad are easily adaptable to become meatless (or tofu-full depending on how you look at it) by letting people add what they want themselves.
Doing multiple things at once is the oft-recited core role of the modern parent. But with the NEFF range of ovens and cooktops this overambitious position description becomes reality. Made for convenience, multitasking is a key to the design of NEFF CircoTherm® function. Offering the cooking multiple meals simultaneously without the intermingling of flavours, CircoTherm® is a revolution for meal prepping, providing the option to cook different meals simultaneously.
The Flex induction cooktops offer a similar time-saving intuition. NEFF FlexInduction technology enables the induction cooktops to sense how many pots and the size of each that are on each burner and heats up accordingly. TwistPadFire, a magnetic, illuminated, removable control dial, enables precise control over each cooking area, so different ingredients can be cooking simultaneously to absolute perfection.
Adaptable technology means you can align techniques such as frying or roasting for multiple meals at once, while still attaining perfect results for each ingredient. This allows you to prep for multiple meals in manageable stages and make more time for the important things, like eating and spending time with the people you love.
Although substituting ingredients and cooking multiple meals at once does save some time in the short term, the endgame is expanding or aligning diets. Sometimes, dietary choices are allergy based or otherwise unable to shift, but sometimes, it’s just a matter of taste. But moving beyond potato chips and peanut butter (at least partially) is an important part of growing up, especially with the adventurous palates that we’re developing in kids today.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of meal ideas for fussy eaters. Some do their best to slip by the heightened senses of the fussy eater, just by looking like fast food, but if veggie fries and avo dip, won’t do it, try something with fast food appeal, but with a gourmand’s flair, like saffron potato towers, featuring crispy fried potato with a range of herbs and chili. And of course, if all else fails, there’s always cheese. Whether it’s in the form of cheesy roast cauliflower, or a slightly ritzier mac and cheese (featuring three different cheeses), there’s very few fussy eaters that will refuse this gooey goodness.
These time saving strategies might start out as small wins, but they’re wins nonetheless. And if you do succeed in introducing some subtle alternatives to a fussy eater’s diet, then they’re wins for the long term.
NEFF is a German-engineered kitchen appliance brand, with a product range that includes ovens, cooktops, rangehoods, coffee machines and dishwashers designed to make life in the kitchen a daily pleasure. For people who love to cook, NEFF gives you the tools to create meaningful connections, express your creativity and make memories. Because real life happens in the kitchen.
Learn more about NEFF here.