What - You Want To Eat Again?

Is this the feeling that comes over you around 5pm when the kids start asking – what’s for dinner?  Does it make you cringe? You are not alone. The daily grind of getting dinner on the table every day for our families can be exhausting.  But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Let me share with you my top tips for taking the stress out of dinner time.

Tara’s Top 5 Tips For Less Dinner Time Stress

  1. Planyes I know you were hoping hiring a personal chef would be top on the list, but no some work is involved.  I promise you that planning out your meals for the week will save time, money and a lot of stress. First find a planning day that works for you.  For me, Sunday afternoon is best as usually we have the least amount of activities. I plan the meals we are going to have and this is key, plan what our week looks like.  Do we have activities 2-3 times that week? If so I need to plan for that. Check and see what you already have in your pantry and then make a shopping list or better yet – order your groceries online to save a step.  

  2. Cook Ahead of time who says meals have to be cooked on the night you eat them? They don’t.  I will either use my Sunday or another day in the week that I have more time and cook 2-3 meals at once.  You are already in the kitchen chopping and slicing, so why not cook a little extra. This not only allows you to have dinner for another night but also prepare lunch or breakfast items.  For example, make a big pot of quinoa. If you use either water or coconut milk to make the quinoa, then you can use half for dinner and half for breakfast quinoa. Dual Purpose – one pot.  I also make use of the crockpot at the same time – throw in your ingredients and set the timer. A great fix it and forget it meal. Throw a large batch of veggies to roast in the oven and use them throughout the week.  I love how roasting brings out the sweetness in the veggies which helps the kids eat them as well. Just remember no olive oil over 350 degrees. Any temperature over 350, go with an avocado or grape-seed oil

  3. Get you kids involved I know this may be counterintuitive, but stick with me on this.  Obviously you don’t want to do this when you are stressed and pressed for time getting out the door, but any day you have a few extra minutes, get them involved.  My kids have had their own cutting knives and safety gloves since they were toddlers. They get excited and ask for their knives and what they can chop. (Please take into consideration the age of the child and what is safe)  But even mixing or putting lettuce in a salad bowl is a great way to involve even the youngest children. When children get involved in the kitchen they feel a sense of ownership and are more invested in the meal. Have picky eaters – it’s even more important.  

  4. Create a Calendar Get the whole family involved.  Let each person choose a favorite homemade meal for a certain day.  If the kids are old enough – enlist them to cook the meal with supervision. This way everyone feels like they are being heard about family meals.  Create theme nights like Meatless Monday. Taco Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Free Choice Thursday (everyone chooses a leftover to eat), Fiesta Friday. You get the idea.  

  5. Create a recipe file look online and find your favorite recipe sites.  Some of my favorites are Skinnytaste, Food Network and Wildtree (in full disclosure, I am a Wildtree rep as well.  I love the quality of the products and I love having go-to easy recipes)  You can also pin them on Pinterest or swap recipes with friends. I love to do this because if it was a hit with my friends family, it has been kid tested and approved.  

Planning and having fun with your mealtimes can make it much less stressful.  I hope these tips have been helpful. Come on over to my Facebook group and let me know what tips you have to share.

Let’s get cooking!

Tara OBrien