Kiwi mum and dads spending time on food preparation say it is their biggest cause of domestic stress.

Forty-four per cent of 500 parents surveyed said they struggle to find the time to eat as well as they would like to.

A third said they ate toast, or cereal, for dinner up to twice a week.

The survey, conducted by prepared meal company FED. and coaching company The Back to Work Coach, also found two-thirds of all parents felt not eating well affected their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Finding a meal that made everyone happy was another stress-inducer.

Nearly three-quarters – 73 per cent – of all parents opted for takeaways either once or twice a week.

This percentage shot up to 88 per cent when looking at survey responses from new parents – those with children under the age of six months.

Accordingly, 81 per cent of this group said not eating well was having a negative impact on their emotional and physical wellbeing.

Beckie Pilley, chef for ready-to-eat meals company FED., said it’s no surprise dinner preparation becomes a struggle when children come along.

“This is often the task that requires the most thought and time,” she said.

Rebekah Fraser, founder of The Back to Work Coach, works with organisations to support staff coming back into the workplace after having children.

Her aim is to help new parents create a plan enabling them to balance work, with the changes to their domestic life.

Fraser said lots of mums become the “subject matter experts” on their child, making it difficult to share the load of cooking and other tasks, when they return to work.

“There needs to be a transition between the parents in terms of the management of household tasks and childcare as well,” she said.

She suggested having a plan for the week ahead; knowing what nights you’d be in or out and figuring out when you’ll have time to cook.

Her “top tip” is to make double when whipping up a home-cooked meal, leaving enough for a second dinner another night.

Outsourcing – ordering groceries or presents online, or buying ready-make meals – was another great option for families that could afford it, Fraser said.

“If you can’t afford to, then look at ways you can work with friends or family to buy yourself some time.”

Playdate swaps were a fun way to get the kids off your hands for an afternoon, while babysitting swaps could help with evening jobs or date nights.

Source: NZ Herald

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