What’s Your “I Can’t Cook” Plan?
For most of the world, it is “take out”. But what if you cannot easily take out? I cook not only for taste, cost and price, but I started cooking everything so my family does not have food reactions.
But what happens when life throws you a curve ball and you cannot cook? What’s your plan?
I have had a “doozy” of a start to 2023. First we were out of town for 2 long weekends in a row which required a lot of cooking ahead to bring food with us.
Then there was a flurry of activity as my son left for a semester abroad, my daughter was unexpectedly hospitalized for 3 weeks, I had COVID and was in charge of a gluten free, dairy free bridal shower yesterday.
In the past month I have made 2 pots of soup, one recipe of black beans, one loaf of bread, one recipe yogurt & Valentines Day dinner. I think that is all. (except for dairy free, gluten free shower treats.) And we purchased take out once.
That’s certainly not a month’s worth of food! What did we eat? Mostly food from my freezer. Besides the scrambled eggs and tuna salad, we ate soup and steak and pork tenderloin and chicken from my freezer. And spaghetti sauce.
My “cook once, freeze at least one meal” saved me.
I am blessed to have a freezer so I can eat from it when I cannot cook.
What do you do when you cannot cook?
- Your son goes in for emergency surgery?
- Your best friend’s mom dies?
- You are so stressed you cannot even think about chopping vegetables? or preparing a meal?
My friend, have a plan. The way to feed your family when you cannot function is to have a plan.
Write it down.
Even if you do not have an extra freezer like I do, you can still plan for the unexpected. What pantry essentials can you keep in the house so you can eat?
Your list might look like this
- tuna, acceptable mayo
- sunbutter or peanut or almond butter
- rice cakes
- gluten free or regular crackers
- refried beans, tortilla chips and salsa
- frozen or canned veggies
- canned fruit in juice
- dried apricots and raisins
- almonds and cashews
- shelf stable dairy free milk (or regular)
- pasta and acceptable sauce
Now obviously your list will vary depending on your own food sensitivites & allergies.
But over the next month, as your purchase these items, buy an extra. Or you may choose to purchase everything all at once.
When your staples are in the house, you can breathe easy. If you cannot cook, you have some pantry staples that are nutritious that you can eat and feed your family when you need a quick meal.
These staples will last you at least 6 months or so, some things much longer. My suggestion on the more perishable things like crackers and dried fruit, nuts and shelf stable milks is to pick a date 6 months from now.
In 6 months, if you have not needed these meals, (praise God) start eating your way through these foods and replace them.
You can take them on picnics or on outings since they travel well.
Or you can gift a bag to a friend who is going through a difficult time. Even if your friend can eat peanut butter, whose to say they will not enjoy almond butter as a change?
To plan your list, I highly recommend my plate planner.
Yes, its primary purpose is for planning a week’s worth of meals and to give members of your family a choice when to eat what vegetable.
But it will work just as well for making sure your family gets all they need during a stressful time coming.
I wish for you that you will never need your emergency plan. But unfortunately everyone I know does at some point. So for when you do, take a few minutes to plan. It will save you food reactions and help everyone to think more clearly and feel better when things are really hard and stressful.
If you want to see how I filled out my planner, go to FoodSensitivityKitchen.com/episode059 for my filled in sheet. Yours will vary, depending on your family’s intolerances and sensitivites and allergies, but perhaps mine will give you some ideas.
As we leave today, I have a favor to ask you. I bet you know someone who needs an emergency food plan. Would you please share this episode with them? And if you haven’t yet, please remember to download the plate planner from FoodSensitivityKitchen.com to help you with yours.
Until next time, Keep Cooking to Enable Those You Love to Flourish!