View Full Version : Single mom, work FT - How to make raw LESS time intensive?
04-04-2009, 01:51 PM
I tried to take the family raw a while back. It was hell, actually. I was trying to make meals for myself and 2 small boys, one of whom was *really* resistant. Weekly menus took hours given food allergies. Most recipes took hours to put together, and generally had to be prepped WELL in advance. Outings were almost impossible - which was tough because we are a very 'spur of the moment' family.
I know that sometimes specific diets and specific lifestyles just don't mix, but I'd really like to figure out a way to make this work. Is there anyone else in a similar situation who can pass along your tips?
I can't spend an hour a night on dinner. We get home at 5:30. Homework takes well over an hour. Then we have the nighttime routine to go through. My kids are not old enough to be more than minimally self-sufficient.
I thought about just doing a grab and go type menu for me - fruits, celery sticks, carrots, etc... but I don't know if that's feasible past the immediate to short term...
Any ideas? Please?
04-04-2009, 02:04 PM
I have gone raw, but I have been slowly introducing different raw recipes to my kids and husband. My kids are older. The two I still have at home are 14 and 17.
I think sauces on vegies (pasta inspired) are really quick and easy. If your kids like salad, that is very easy too. You can even buy washed greens. My kids like a lot of different nut butters. Smoothies are always good.
I don't make everything myself to cut down on time. If you find a good granola, that can count as breakfast and a quick snack to run out the door. My oldest son really likes the raw lara bars. Those would be easy to keep in the car when out. I also buy a honey sprouted nut mix that is really good. Bananas are a staple. They are wonderful with nut butter. If I am in a hurry, I make my nut milks from nut butter.
A few days a week, set aside time to prepare some dehydrated foods and goodies for the week. I got a raw food preparation cd from the library that inspired this for me. Then you could easily assemble some meals the other days. You could make a raw red tomato sauce for pasta and pizza. Alissa talks about just using sliced eggplants for the crust. I love Alissa's pad thai sauce for a salad dressing too.
Good luck finding time to stay raw!
04-04-2009, 02:08 PM
have you taken alissa's level 1 class? it is actually super quick and easy to make raw meals once you get the hang of it. i am a single mom too, and the other day in about 10 minutes i made a yummy chopped salad in the fp, a pate, and a bunch of raw nori rolls that i boxed up to go to the park with the little guy.
i'd say a food processor is essential.
you could dehydrate once a week - make a bunch of crackers and cookies for the week.
i give my son (he is 2) mostly whole foods so it is easy - avos, orange, apples grape mangoes.....whatever he likes and wants to eat...berries and raw ice cream!
04-04-2009, 02:27 PM
You've already gotten some great advice from the pp's. I can only add is to keep it simple, make smoothies, dips. Don't make a whole lot of dehydrated complicated foods. Make a couple favorites, that you know the boys love on your days off and stick with the foods/recipes that you can prep in 30 min or less.
I understand about the resistance of children to eat raw. I don't try to make my sons eat raw, but I do prepare raw foods at every meal, and encourage everyone to try. My son's will drink smoothies, salads, I only make raw marinara sauce (they eat on whole grain pasta, I on zucchini), they eat lots of fruits. We do a lot of mono eating..it's so much easier. I save the complicated recipes for when I have time and when I feel really creative or when I really want something special.
04-04-2009, 06:01 PM
I think the above advice is great. Here are a few more tips, I hope they're helpful:
-Make a big green smoothie as soon as you get home from work (you could cut up all the fruits in the morning, and then just dump them in when you get home from work). This can help keep the tummies full during homework.
-Make a simple salad or dip or wrap with shredded veggies for supper. You can make these ahead of time.
-Sundays can be your prep day, that's what I do.
04-04-2009, 06:11 PM
ide get a couple huge stainless steel soup pots (they store salads , minus tomatos which make greens soggy , better than any vessel ive found ) and every several days make vegi rich / varied greens salads so can have on hand at any time instantly . then its about the dressings you create to make kids like . i'll bring back some links for that
then like you say ' grab and go ' , its just having the right stuff :
bananas a biggy
almond milk on raw granola cereal
ok speaking of that i
ll go get a link to an awesome raw chef making it , kids would probably like this women too
ps - heres a link to raw shopping
04-04-2009, 06:14 PM
the awesome ani phyo with almomd milk cereal
04-04-2009, 06:16 PM
now the awesome carmellas sunny raw kitchens blog recipe index with many dressings
04-05-2009, 05:40 AM
You have to alter your "spur of the moment" way of life. You must plan and after doing it a while it will become easier. I would Prep. lots of Vegetables and store them in "Lock and Lock" plactic containers, whick keeps them Fresh longer. You can make Salads, with the same ingredients you can make Soup another day.
Learn to make your Tools, Vita-Mix and Food Processor, work for you. I always say Work Smart, Not Hard. Invite your Children to help you with the Preperation.
If this is the Road you are Choosing, everything WILL work out for you......
04-05-2009, 01:46 PM
it's hardest in the beginning because it's like speaking a new language... but once you get past a certain threshold, it just becomes second nature and is no harder than your former lifestyle.
good luck and keep up the good work for yourself and your family!!!
also, you could you hire a teenager to do some weekly prep?
04-05-2009, 02:08 PM
What I've done in the past is sit down and list easy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It helps if a great many are things you can make and eat right then. Things like smoothies, salads, gorilla burgers. Next are things that take preparing ahead of time like dehydrated breakfast cereal, crackers, pizza crusts. Things that aren't hard, but do need to be though of and dealt with ahead of time. Then I taped the list to the inside of a cabinet door.
There are sauces/dips that are easy and store well. Marinara, pesto. They can be eaten on tops of zucchini noodles or spread on crackers or pizza crusts. Toss your alfredo sauce in the food processor with spinach and chop, and it makes a wonderful spinach dip for veggies.
Early on I also kept a list of recipes we'd tried on my computer. It had the name, which recipe book, and then ratings from my kids.
If you share what ingredients you have to avoid because of allergies, you might get some specific quick recipe ideas.
04-05-2009, 04:04 PM
Great ideas & suggestions....I'm a single mom, too...but I don't work, though I am way too busy sometimes! What I do then is, when I know I'll be coming home hungry, with little time to prepare, I gather everything I'll need for meal prep & have it all in one place...for example, in my big salad bowl, I put all the veggies I'll need, & leave it in the cold room (or make room in the fridge) & on the table, lay out the cutting board, knives, garliv press, whatever I'll need, & I'll set the table before we go out, & have the stuff gathered for making a dressing, etc. so I can walk in the door, grab it, & get started!
The reason I don't chop things ahead of time is due to learning that once you cut a fruit or veggie it instantly begins losing nutrients, & within an hour has lost most of the vitamin C, etc., so I just have them ready...then, as I begin preparing the food, I'll do veggies first that we can snack on while we wait for the meal...carrot sticks, celery, etc. & put them out on a plate for those coming in the kitchen saying, "Is it ready YET?" I hand them the plate & it tides them over until the food's on the table....of course I only have one daughter, & she often helps, but especially when she has a friend over, this works well...
I love to make up double portions when I make a meal, for another day...raw foods often taste even better the next day (especially lazagna! The flavors merge & blend so incredibly, it's BETTER the 2nd day!)
Also, having each child have one day a week they do a meal (with you, at this age) not only teaches them to plan/prepare meals, but also you can have them be your helper the day you're teaching them so kitchen work goes much faster, AND you get some one on one time! (Which I know is hard with more than one child, & especially when you work!)
Oh, yea, carry food with you (fruit, smoothies, home-made trail mixes, etc., so when you're all in the car, on the way home, (if that's how your day works) the snacking can happen & the drive-through temptations can be ignored, & then when you get home, you're not all ravenous, & meal prep time doesn't have to be rushed...so what if you eat dinner a wee bit later than you used to? Homework & other things can start earlier, so you're all still in bed on time, right?
Also, a fun idea is to make a chart that they get to 'rate' the meals (on a scale of 1-5 is good for younger kids) & recipes you do find that you all like, so they can have their absalute favorites once a week, or so they can learn to prepare the things they like best, & weed out the recipes (or save 'em to try later) that don't go over as well...
when a child is resistant to raw, the more involved they are (from growing, shopping, preparing, finding recipes online, whatever) the more the resistance fades...
...also, keep in mind the longer you're raw, the more taste buds simplify, & enjoy the less complicated stuff, but at first, they're so used to over-stimulating things (salt, sugar, tons of spices, MSG) that you might need to find recipes that are more flavorful for them to accept the changes without resistance...
...if the resistance comes up, you can always do a high-raw diet for them, keeping the cooked portion simple, like a sweet potato (topped with a mix of chopped onion, garlic, red pepper, & avacado cubes?) or perhaps a healthier pasta (kamut?) topped with raw sauce...Also, a little raw soup warmed just enough to not be cold can be very satisfying!
Most of all, have fun with it, keep it simple as much as possible, & make 'em raw desserts to keep it interesting!
& when you shop with them, let them each pick one new fruit or veggie to try that they never have before! They can look up online (with you, if needed) what to do with it!
Hope some of these suggestions help!
04-08-2009, 02:34 PM
Thanks so much everyone. I'll be the first to admit that I set myself up for failure the first time. I spent way too much money on complicated recipes that took a lot of the wind out of my sails.
I think this time I will work on me first. The youngest child will be easy to take mostly raw, as he's used to eating an odd diet due to his food issues.
Someone asked about our allergies... For the youngest it's citrus, grapes, cucumbers, peaches, wheat, dairy, carob, and a whole host of others I can't think of without looking back at my ELISA report. That REALLY limits a lot of the fun kids recipes from the get go.
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