Millions of British mums are cooking more than FOUR times a day, according to new research.
A quarter of the 2,000 mothers polled admit that in order to meet different family schedules they are forced to play chef several times in a 24 hour period.
One in 16 mums are even cooking for multi-generational and larger families who can require up to TEN differing mealtimes every day.
As well as fitting in with the various jobs, school, clubs and activities, a third of mums admit they are cooking more often to try and meet the tastes of their fussy children.
While a further 21 per cent have family members who come home at separate times to eat alone.
Nick Canning, Joint MD of Iceland who commissioned the research for new TV show Eat The Week said:
“Family life can be frantic, but with some savvy planning it’s possible to eat well, eat healthily and eat affordably.
“Just 15 minutes a week checking what’s in the kitchen and planning your meals can cut £520 a year off the family food bill by using up what you already have. “Eating well is an investment in your child’s future, so we’re doing all we can to support the UK’s families to achieve this.”
But the study shows cooking so many different meals is leading to a mountain of food waste, with 26 per cent of Brits admitting they ‘regularly’ throw out edible grub.
The study shows the average family wastes £10 a week on ingredients that they already have tucked away in their cupboards or fridge - while 19 per cent waste £20 or more.
A further 15 per cent of mums admit they ‘regularly forget’ what is in their store cupboard. And despite food planning being one of the best ways to slash waste, 57 per cent of families admit they don’t plan meals - although 18 per cent want help so they can start.
Overall, thinking up new ideas for meals is the biggest kitchen challenge for UK families, with two thirds saying they struggle.
A further 64 per cent worry about the cost of food with 28 per cent claiming they don’t have enough time to cook.
And this is having knock-on effect on the nation’s health, with only 17 per cent of families polled saying they cook healthily.
Worryingly, a quarter admitted they need to improve their cooking ‘a lot’ to make healthy meals. The survey also highlighted that while a whopping nine out of 10 mums quizzed want to be more adventurous in their cooking, one in seven admitting to eating exactly the same meals on the same days each week.
Pasta is the nation’s most cooked dish with 70 per cent of mums making it every single week, while 52 per cent regularly serve up a roast dinner.
Forty seven per cent of mums admit to giving the family sandwiches for a meal when time is tight, and a fifth resort to fishfingers.
Unhealthy options such as chicken nuggets and fish and chips are appearing on the nation’s plates all too regularly.
While curry, sausage and mash, and shepherd’s pie also feature highly on the list of most cooked meals.
NATIONS MOST COOKED DISHES
2. Roast Dinner
5. Sausage & Mash
6. Chicken Nuggets
7. Shepherd’s Pie
8. Fish & Chips