Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Having family meals, at the actual dining table, surrounded by your family, is so important to me. I grew up eating dinner together with my siblings and parents, talking about our day, laughing and making memories.
But, with the hustle and bustle of chores and daily to-do's, and in my case this year, adding another child in the mix, this can be tough! So, I wanted to share a couple tips that I have tried to implement to make dinnertime easier for myself and family!
1. Create a weekly menu
Plan your menu for the week around your family's activities. For example, I know that every Monday, Iliana has dance class so I need dinner to be ready when we get home: crock pot meal! However, every other day I can fit in a 30-45 minute meal. Also, having a list ready before you hit the store is key because then you have something concrete to build your grocery list around, which leads to #2.
2. Build your grocery list BEFORE you get to the store.
The "before" part here is essential. How many times have you walked into the grocery store with the thought "what should we have for dinner tonight?" Before you know it, you have snacks, random condiments and gosh knows what else in your cart. And, lordy, if you grocery shop at Target, there's no telling what else you'll leave with. I'm guilty.
So, that Sunday or whatever day you choose, make your meal list for the week and create your grocery list around that. Make sure to grab some extra sandwich baggies though, you'll need those for step #3.
3. Meal prep!
This tip is huge when it comes to my daytime life because it also helps me stay on the healthy track so I am not filling my body with crap when I'm on-the-go. But, this also works for dinner too!
Take your meal plan for the week and portion out what you've bought per day. I have a few aluminum tins in my fridge that I separate by day so you can cut all of your produce and put into those baggies, separate your sides and have everything ready for when you're ready to cook. This step eliminates the prep time before every meal, which can be up to an additional 15 minutes, or in my case more because I'm usually chasing a kid around or holding a baby at the same time.
4. Cook the night before.
This step is for those mamas that really need that extra time, i.e. lots of after-school activities or new moms with newborns. After the kids go to bed, this is your "you-time," right? While your catching up on your fave TV show, reading that new good book or writing your next blog post, have tomorrow night's dinner cooking so all you have to do the next day is pop it in the oven or microwave to heat up!
I'll be honest, I have not been good at this last step because my after bed-time routine is a little chaotic, but if it is what needs to happen, the key is all about scheduling out the time. Keep your time productive and be aware to what your daily struggles are so you can make a plan around them. It's always easier to grab something on-the-go, but if being at home, having a family supper is important to you, but you're struggling to make it happen, hopefully these tips will help you too!
Let me know what you think in the comments!