I don’t know about you, but for me thinking about all the meals I have to prepare for my family for the foreseeable future can be a little intimidating. (Although I am VERY thankful I am blessed with food to feed my family!) Nevertheless with two fussy eaters, and a husband who likes to limit his carbohydrates, meals are challenging. For the fussy eaters, I try to incorporate SOMETHING they like in each meal that is relatively healthy, and fill out the rest of their meal with some raw fruits or vegetables. For my hubby, he usually focuses on the protein and vegetables in the meal.
Here are some tips I’ve learned to make dinners a little more manageable.
1. Plan 5 or six meals for the week and make a grocery list. It’s not necessary to assign specific meals to specific days. Who knows what you’ll be craving, or what your days will be like. Then each day just choose your dinner to fit your day.
2. Shop from your list so you WILL have on hand all the ingredients you need for the week’s meals. That is half the battle.
3. Have your children each make a list of their 5 or so favorite dinners, and post it on the refrigerator. This will give you a reference when your mind is frazzled and fuzzy, and you’re trying to plan.
4. Keep items in your freezer, pantry or refrigerator for hectic days. My quick standbys for crazy days are: light hot dogs, pasta, scrambled eggs, frozen veggie burgers, burritos with whatever fillings I have on hand, and doctored up frozen pizza.
5. Buy raw baby carrots, bananas, and apples, or the prepackaged fruits in their own juices to have on hand to help round out meals light on fruits or veggies.
6. Add a dessert or a special beverage to help a simple meal become a little more special.
7. Get your children to set the table while you are making dinner. It helps keep them out of trouble, and they learn how to do it.
8. Clean up as you cook. Have the sink full of warm soapy water. It makes you more likely to wash dishes as you go, and makes clean up after dinner much easier!
9. Don’t feel bad about using frozen or canned fruits and vegetables at times; they can still be nutritious. It’s better to have those than no fruits or veggies at all, because you didn’t have the time to cut up a salad.
10. If your life is crazy busy, don’t make fancy complicated meals. Even if dinner is something simple, it can still be made healthier than fast food.