food

“I let someone else plan my family’s meals for a whole week.”

My Food Bag
Thanks to our brand partner, My Food Bag

Here is a riddle for you. How do you feed a family with three active kids while you hold down a job, ferry around said kids and attempt to fit in homework and after school activities — ranging from soccer, to tennis, to ballet, to swimming, to band — every single afternoon?

Three kids who happen to be three of the fussiest humans ever to have been born?

The answer to that riddle?

Well I don’t happen to have it yet.

In our house, every day, meal times are frenzied. A rush of shopping and preparing, catering to different likes and dislikes and trying to cook healthy, wholesome meals without forgetting an ingredient or creating a disaster. It’s not easy. I envy those to whom cooking and organising comes naturally.

I envy those with the imagination to create their own meals from scratch and I envy those with the type of kids who just eat anything. There are days I get a pot or two on the stove only to find that something essential is still on the supermarket shelf.

There are days I can’t decide what on earth to cook so at the last minute its simply vegemite toast all around. And not being a natural chef there are days I just want to throw my hands up in the air and give in.

Take-away again, kids?  

So it was with interest that I was asked to trial My Food Bag — a premium food delivery service, providing nutritionally balanced recipes and fresh, locally sourced seasonal produce delivered direct to your door.

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"Sourced seasonal produce delivered direct to your door." Image: supplied.

I was nervous, I’ll admit.

Me -- the woman who once nearly burnt down the house cooking eggs -- following recipes, using whole veggies rather than pre-bagged, pre-chopped ones and introducing flavours and tastes to my kids -- Fussy One, Fussy Two and Fussy Three.

The premise of My Food Bag is that they remove the hard work and extensive time of planning your weekly meals and sourcing first-rate ingredients, leaving the rest up to you. The sauces and condiments are provided but the veggies need to be chopped and the meals prepared. It was going to be a challenge.

Our box of goodies arrived promptly on Sunday afternoon as promised (we also had the option of Monday morning delivery – which would be ideal if we were away for the weekend or busy with sport). Two large boxes filled with fresh produce, meats, fish and chicken to create the healthy menu planned by its team of dieticians and nutritionists. It required a pantry of some simple staples, most of which I had (though a quick dash to the shops for maple syrup was required as the kids had demolished the lot on pancakes the day before).

Night one.

Miso Glazed Fish and Sesame Salad Rice Bowls to be precise. I was surprised to find that everything is already measured to the quantity you need for each recipe. This meant minimal preparation time as well as minimal waste with a recipe that was simple and easy to cook. I was also surprised to find that the only noise from the Fussys was one from Fussy One who wanted more fish (easily solved, it was a massive portion).

And then Fussy Two piped up, not-so-pleased that his baby spinach leaves dared to touch his rice bowl. After I delicately fished the green stuff off from the fish everyone was happy and the general consensus was that the miso glaze that came with the food bag was flavorsome and delicious. The recipe book tipped me off that to save time the next day, I could pre-prepare the chicken. With the pace that our life runs at this was a definite bonus.

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"With the pace that our life runs at this was a definite bonus." Image: supplied.

Night two.

Herb lemon roast chicken with root vegetable chips and salad. The recipe kit warned me that the roast was the week’s trickiest, taking a little longer to prepare - but I am not actually sure it did, the free-range chicken was quicker than I thought to cook.

Now, either my oven is a wonder, I’m actually a really good cook, or the food bag recipe was spot on because the roast chicken was simply lovely. Only one child Fussy Two again noted firmly during dinner that he didn’t like the skin being served on his chicken – and once again objected (as only preschoolers can) to the very idea of lettuce gracing his meal. All in all though it was an easy fix and a great success.

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"The food bag recipe was spot on because the roast chicken was simply lovely." Image: supplied.

Night three.

On the menu was lamb cevapcici wraps with herbed sour cream. This one was fun for the kids to get involved in to prepare. Lots of squeezing and stirring, rolling up what the kids re-named "home made sausages”. Fussy Two (again) wasn’t too keen on the “green bits” in his sour cream, but there was enough left aside to give him a dollop without any adornments in it. The rest of us didn’t leave a bit.

"Lots of squeezing and stirring". Image: supplied.

Nights four and five.

Maple-soy glazed pork with roast pumpkin bites and warm apple salad then beef and mushroom stroganoff with farfalle. I had my nephews over the night we had the stroganoff and the serving sizes were so large there was enough to feed seven of us. Otherwise I would have been happy to have leftovers for the kids’ lunches the next day. As the week drew to a close I realised that the experiment with My Food Bag had taught me a few things.

  1. Kids are more adventurous eaters than you give them credit for.
  2. It’s more fun to eat if you prepare it yourself.
  3. Good quality meats, sustainably and ethically sourced really do taste better.
  4. Chopping veggies and preparing meals doesn’t have to be hard work or boring if you have what you need organised and ready to go.
  5. Comparatively, planning and shopping for weekly meals is so time consuming.
  6. Never give a child with the name Fussy Two anything green (or if you do, hide it very well). It’s not worth the trouble to fish it out again.

What is your favourite meal to cook with the kids?