We’ve all been there; overwhelmed that there’s just not enough time. Most of us are over busy on a daily basis. We have jobs, families, and personal issues to take care of. One of the first things to get cut from the to-do list are home-cooked meals.
Devoted soldier makes 12 months worth of food for his wife and leaves love notes
Yin Yunfeng is a 27-year-old soldier in the Chinese army, currently stationed in a remote part of Tibet. As much as he desires to see his wife, he can only visit once a year. His wife, Zhao Mai, is a teacher in China’s Guizhou province in the city of Anshui and notices that she rarely has time to cook for herself. (1)
Well, Yin Yunfeng decided that he wasn’t going to let his wife get away with that so he literally took matters into his own hands! He decided that when he reunites with his wife yearly, he would find the time to cook, store, and freeze a year’s worth of dinners to keep her well fed while he is away. (1)
In his effort to show his wife how much he loves her, he also hides love notes and treasure hunt surprises. Notes such as, “You’re so focused on your work and have so much to read when you get home that I want to make life easier for you,” and “Here is your first surprise. You can find a bag of raisins at the back of the sofa in the living room.” (1)
What a sweetheart! His wife is well fed and constantly inspired by his loving words.
Statistics on time allocation in the United States
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the average time allocation for employed adults ages 25 to 54 who lived in households with children under the age of 18 were as follows: 8.7 hours on working and work-related activities, 7.7 hours on sleeping, 2.5 hours on leisure and sports, 1.3 hours on caring for others, 1 hour on eating and drinking, 1.1 hours on household activities, and 1.7 hours on other tasks. (2) This data included non-holiday weekdays and related traveling time for each activity.
More specifically, a comprehensive study reveals that Americans, no matter what the socioeconomic status, have spent less time preparing home cooked meals over the years. (3) Between the mid-1960s and late 2000s, there was a decline from 95% to 72% in low-income households, 92% to 69% in middle-income households, and 88% to 65% in high-income households. (4)
How to make your meals count
Making meals in advance is time saving and cost-effective. There are two ways you can make it easier on yourself: make a bunch of meals at once and use a slow cooker. The advantages of this approach is that you can easily make meals from basic ingredients, control what goes into your food, and buy cost-saving bulk ingredients to make multiple meals in a given week. (5)
From personal experience, I find it easier if I reserve a block of time to cook multiple dinners for the week. I find specific ingredients that I can use in multiple dishes, cook them, and package them either in the freezer or refrigerator. On the days I am busy, I simply re-heat and eat. Slow cookers are also an excellent because you can simply throw everything in the pot and let it cook for the day.
What strategies have helped you with home-cooked meal preparations? Comment below!
Image source: metro.co.uk