Surviving the summer holidays

The summer holidays are here, and if the thought of all that time to fill and all those meals to prepare makes you feel a bit panicky then you’re not alone! The school summer holidays are a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids, however they are also a time when the constant juggle of work, family and home can get even more complicated. Routines change, holidays must be planned, and the weather is unpredictable. Here are some top family food survival tips! Click on the links for recipes.

  1. Get sorted. In the weeks running up to the holidays try to 'double up' when cooking your favourite meals. In this way you can stock up your freezer to create a selection of meals that are ready to reheat on busy days. Likewise, if you have time to do some baking try to get some sweet and savoury treats in the freezer ready for picnics and packed lunches, e.g. homemade malt loaf.

  2. Plan ahead. The change in routine means that you might be eating out more or coming back late from tiring days out. Try to plan quick and simple meals that can be ready quickly, e.g. this simple baked ravioli dish or jacket potatoes set to cook on delay timer. If you'll have a big lunch out, plan something simple and lighter for the evening, e.g. pizza sliders or a frittata.

  3. Get ready for day trips. Days out in hot weather can be tiring for both adults and kids so take lots of snacks! Eating at tourist attractions can be very expensive so try to take a packed lunch. If you'll be travelling back around dinner time, consider a packed tea that the kids can eat in the car so that you don't have to cook when you get home.

  4. Prepare for holidays. If you are self-catering or camping, make life easier by ordering an online supermarket delivery to arrive on the first evening. Make a big batch of bolognaise sauce or a curry to freeze and take with you, then you have the first night's meal sorted.

  5. Relax! The school holidays inevitably mean lots of treats, including cakes and ice-creams. Try not to worry too much about the change to your kids' diets, you can balance it out by offering them lots of fresh fruit and veg. And make sure you get to enjoy some treats too!

It’s nice to have a chance to slow down a d bit during the summer holidays. However, I’m well aware that a few days into the holidays my kids will be complaining that they are bored! I like to do day trips to fun places, but I also think it’s important to have some ‘down time’ in-between. It’s handy to have a few activities up your sleeve for those quieter days so why not try some of these, and enjoy the bonus of getting a meal cooked at the same time?

  1. Do some baking with the kids to stock up on snacks – these could be sweet or savoury

  2. Cook a meal together – there are some lovely children’s’ cookbooks available which give simple, step-by-step instructions

  3. For a fun day's activity at home, you can pick a country and cook food from there while learning about it; you could even dress up!

  4. Set the kids an invention challenge: give them a selection of ingredients and see what they create

  5. Look up some fun science experiments you can do with food, e.g., colour changing recipes or making ‘slime’ with cornflour and water

  6. Buy some plain digestive biscuits (or bake your own) and set the kids loose with icing and sprinkles to decorate them

  7. Mix up breakfast time – get them involved in making pancakes or waffles, just make sure they help with the washing up….

  8. Plan a picnic to a local park and get your children to write the shopping list – they’ll enjoy ticking things off as you go around the supermarket

If you’re looking for more meal inspiration and recipe ideas, why not try one of my recipe boxes? Each contains four family-friendly recipes that are great fun to prepare with the kids over the holidays. Check out my shop to order yours today.

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