Coco Pops for dinner: the dietary habits of FIFO partners

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Sandy (or 'Auntie', as many people call her) is our FIFO Survivor. Her husband works offshore in oil/gas and they've been together for more than 30 years - many of them as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) family. In that time they've raised two beautiful daughters (both now in their 20s) and moved more than 19 times! Sandy wanted to write for Mining Family Matters to show you can survive FIFO.

So what's for dinner tonight? That question often runs through my head. When my husband's offshore, I’m always home alone and can't really be bothered.

I have a friend with two young children and her husband also works away. She has been known to have Coco Pops for dinner!

Well if you knew me, you would know that breakfast cereal wouldn't work for me. I like vegetables too much. Oh, who am I kidding? I love FOOD!

The hardest part is buying a small of amount of everything. Why does the butcher always look at you funny when you ask for one of something?

I have taken to going to the markets for fruit and vegetables and the butcher to buy meat, as the supermarkets don’t cater for one either.

My other trick is to get a pack of mince: mini pies the first night; rissoles the second, with the rest going in the freezer. These are for the very regular days when I can’t be bothered thinking about dinner.

I also try to cook a whole lot of meals at once and freeze them. I cook one batch of chicken pieces and then make different stir fries, pasta dishes and with chicken with vegetables. Easier to convince myself I’m not having chicken every night! 

My go-to meal when the girls were little was a cooked chook from the local chicken shop. The first night was chicken with coleslaw and potato; the second was a casserole. I'd then shred any leftover chicken, add tin of pineapple and mixed vegetables (fresh or frozen), season with soy sauce and chicken stock. Thicken with a little cornflour, add noodles and you have a tasty meal! The kids loved this – think it was the sweetness. 

I was so lucky the girls weren't fussy eaters. I have never been one for separate meals. We all sat down together and ate the same thing.

My true lifesaver though has been the slow cooker. Put it on before work. By the time the girls got home from school, the smell in the house made them want to devour whatever was in the pot. Great for sports nights too, when the house resembled a train station!

And finally, some young FIFO wives tell me that home-delivered meals (as in recipes + ingredients) can work really well for busy families. I haven't tried them but apparently they're delicious.

More from Auntie Sandy:

If you've got a question for 'Auntie' Sandy or would like to make a comment about FIFO living, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!