Its a busy time in the Johnson household with lots going on at the moment - work-life is very busy and with Christmas approaching we have lots of social engagements on top of the usual family commitments. Not that we are complaining, it just means that we find we need to try and be even more organised and time efficient to get us through our week in terms of what we are eating and when. It will come as no surprise to many that Tom likes to eat, a lot, but the girls have always been good eaters too so mealtime is a very important time in our daily routine!
Tom generally leaves at 6 am on weekday mornings so he has his breakfast very early before the rest of us wake up. We love dippy eggs and although boiling an egg isn't hard, trying to do so in the midst of getting the children ready for school and nursery means they have a tendency to get over cooked whilst we locate shoes/hairbands/everything. So, to help out we use one of these Singing Egg Timer you put it in the saucepan along with your eggs and cold water and then it beeps a loud song when the egg is perfectly boiled - works every time. Special thanks to Caroline Horstmann for introducing us to this wonderful device! Breakfast is soft boiled eggs for Tom and Jess, with sourdough toast. We get through a lot of eggs in our house! Tom has a Nutribullet smoothie with lots of greens, he uses frozen spinach (all the supermarkets sell this) some ginger, kale, sometimes an apple or pear with some water. Always a coffee too, we get ours from local coffee supplier Crankhouse Coffee. The girls sometimes have eggs, but Callie mostly has Weetabix with yoghurt, berries & honey and Heidi goes for Weetabix, or Cheerios/ granola with fruit – she is also partial to a crumpet or toast and she generally has fruit as well to keep it balanced.
It’s an ongoing joke in our house that Tom has the worst lunches although he claims to enjoy them, his lunch usually consists of a few tins of cooked mackerel, coupled with some type of grains – quinoa, cous cous etc. You can’t deny its super healthy, but it smells awful! He also has lots of fruit/veg. Heidi’s lunch is provided by her school which is great, as we know she is getting a good warm meal every lunchtime. Callie has lunch at nursery a few days a week and when she is at home she will often eat the usual type of things kids like – cheese / ham / smoked salmon wraps, she loves beans on toast or scrambled eggs. I usually have cooked salmon or chicken for lunch with salad, avocado, houmous, nuts and seeds or halloumi or tuna wraps.
Our evening meal is the big one for us, the girls eat at 5pm on the dot as they get outrageously grumpy if its any later than that. We all eat the same food, sometimes the girls don’t particularly like it but they are pretty good at trying. We try to plan our evening meal each week in advance so that we know roughly what we are eating. We do our weekly shop online for delivery at the weekend, as attempting to do the supermarket trip with children in tow is no joke! We then top up if necessary with meat & veg from our local farm shop or our village shop which has fantastic local suppliers for eggs, bread and milk.
We tend to eat the same kind of things on rotation during the week, lots of stir frys, meatballs (turkey or beef) loads of salmon, easy chicken traybakes, bangers & mash, cous cous, quinoa, broccoli, carrots, green beans.
On Thursday’s we always have jacket potatoes as Heidi has a dance class until 5pm so we just put the potatoes in the oven on a timer ready for when we are back, nice, simple and easy.
This week’s menu is as follows:
Sunday – Lamb Tagine with quinoa
Monday – Bangers & mash, peas, green beans and chantenay carrots (they don’t need peeling or cutting, time saving!)
Tuesday – Roast salmon side with orange and cranberries, cous cous and tenderstem broccoli
Wednesday – Turkey meatballs in a tomato & basil sauce with courgetti - I just put the meatballs straight into an oven roasting tray, top with a good quality tomato and basil sauce and then cook in the oven. Top with some grated mozzarella 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time. I use this spiralizer device to make courgetti, its really quick and easy- Spiralizer.
Thursday – Jacket Potato with beans, tuna, cheese and lots of salad
Friday – Salmon side, hoisin rice and broccoli, green beans
We don’t generally plan for the weekend as we tend to be out and about a lot and we have more time to actually food prep from scratch. We usually cook a roast of some kind on a Sunday and do a bit of food prep for the week ahead like cook up some grains for lunches, make sure we have cooked meat or fish in the fridge etc.
Dessert wise, the girls tend to always have yoghurts for dessert, we buy the Yeo Valley fromage frais ones as they don’t have any added sugar and they are also fairly local company (based in Somerset) – we love all of their products. Heidi and Callie do snack quite a bit, generally on fruit or yoghurts, they also like the little cereal bars or malt loaf type things. They would eat biscuits and chocolate constantly if they were allowed so I have to try and rein them in a bit. Tom and I have a sweet tooth but the best way to satisfy this for us is to have a bit of really good quality dark chocolate if we really want it in the evening. We generally don’t buy desserts from the shops as if you don’t buy it then you can’t eat it! We just try to stick to the 80/20 rule - eating well 80% of the time and then having the odd treat here and there 20% of the time. The way we do this is by trying to eat the best we can during the week when we usually tend to be at home and then if we are eating out, hosting friends or socialising we can indulge and enjoy the treats for what they are - you shouldn’t ever feel bad about eating! This works for us as it gives us a good balance to enjoy the things we like in a sustainable way.
So that’s this weeks food update - it’s not perfect but I personally don’t think it is achievable to eat ‘perfectly healthy’ meals day in day out when you have a busy life, lots on with work or children demanding of your time. It is about doing what works for you and your loved ones, and trying your best in whatever way you can, even if it’s a small but achievable way like making sure you have some healthy snacks on hand during the week - boiled eggs, cottage cheese, homemade energy bars etc.