Cooking at home takes planning, but it’s worth it. Photo: Alyson Mcphee

Why can’t I plan day to day cooking?

January is in full swing and our noses are back at the grindstone! Working from home has its benefits – the weather doesn’t bother me and I save a fortune on petrol and time as I am not sitting in traffic waiting for rush hour to pass.

With all the benefits also comes something that I never thought about – lunch and food in general. I tend to have quick fixes rather than prepare proper lunch, especially during all the lockdowns.

Now, I never make new year’s resolutions but I promised to look after myself a bit more and eat proper lunch rather than just a few crackers with cheese. I have also the bad habit of forgetting about lunch altogether and then making it up later as I am starving and eat too much too late.

That has a bad influence on my wellbeing of course and I need to change that. But here’s the thing – working from home needs planning if you want to have a well balanced life.

So what is a perfect lunch? Not too heavy but not too light that you are getting hungry again in 30 minutes. Salads come to mind but the season isn’t really inviting for salads.

Soup and homemade bread is always a good option and it can be prepared in advance – just a question of actually doing it and not minding to have the same soup for two to three days.

Yes, I could buy ready-made soups – there are many options available but as you might know, I am not a fan of commercial food.

Currently, we have butternut squash, leeks and potatoes in season, so a lot can be made from that. Winter salads are also great with barley and roasted butternut squash and it’s quick to prepare in advance. But all these tasty ideas are worth nothing if I am not actually doing it!

And that’s where meal planning comes in. My mum used to know ahead of time what she was cooking for the week ahead and planned her shopping for the previous Saturday. I always admired her for that – okay, I thought it was boring when I was a teenager – as she got never caught for what’s for dinner at any given day and she was able to prepare food in advance a lot.

My dad loved stews – something I still hate by the way. Something I noticed about myself is that I am good at the big dinner preparations but not the day to day cooking that I should be focusing on. My mum didn’t like cooking (I think she was quite happy that my dad loved stews so she could get away with cooking one pot that lasted three days) but I love cooking so why is it that I am useless at the day to day tasks of simple cooking?

I think I need to take a page out of mum’s book and start planning – which means I have to create shopping lists. I’ll keep you posted about my progress!