Tips for Busy Families
Finding time to make a healthy dinner for everyone in the family can be a challenge. Add in work schedules, zoom calls, sports practices, dance classes, music lessons and multiple kids and it can seem impossible. Often grabbing food on the fly or ordering in becomes the path of least resistance, but even with the best of intentions, the meal can lack nutrients and be expensive. If you are faced with the challenge of making dinner for a busy family here are a few tips to help you simplify things.
It’s better to eat a bit early than super late. Have a look at everyone’s schedule and decide what time would be best to serve dinner. You may not be able to serve it at the same time for all but you may catch 2 or 3. Consider serving dinner at 4 or 4:30pm if activities occur after 6pm. Just skip the afterschool snack and go right to dinner. If there is only one person who needs to eat early and the rest can wait until 6:30pm, consider saving a portion of dinner from the night before to be served to that child the next day. Otherwise a big snack early including vegetables and fruit and a smaller dinner with leftovers of your dinner after will work too.
Choose a day, possibly on a weekend, where you jot down all the meals you enjoy making for dinners. It only needs to take 5 minutes. Ask the kids for input and they will be more inclined to eat it. Next, write down the ingredients you need.
Stir Fry, spaghetti, salmon burgers, homemade pizza, fajitas, Slow Cooker chicken and rice, curry, soup etc.
Save time at the grocery store by doing the following:
- Always use a list
- Write your list based on food groups or isles and sections of your store
- Shop at a familiar store
- Try to buy everything at one store rather than having several stops
- Divide and conquer. If you have someone with you, give them part of the list.
- Avoid the junk isles (candy and chips)
- Don’t get sucked in by the samples
- Shop during non-peak hours
- Shop only once a week
- Offer to pack your own groceries so you can organize bags based on how you will unload them at home
Food prep day:
After grocery shopping try to set aside 1-2 hours to do some food prep. Chop onions, cut up some vegetables, wash fruit, make muffins, marinate chicken to be frozen, pre-cook brown rice to freeze, make chili or prep the crockpot.
Throughout the week, think ahead, if you have the oven on tonight you might as well cook the chicken for tomorrow’s fajitas. If you are making pasta sauce from scratch, make double or triple and freeze the extra portions.
Don’t forget to involve the kids, they need to learn to cook too!