Looking for a way to make dinnertime less stressful? Are you overwhelmed with the dinnertime rush and trying to put healthy, nutritious meals for your family on the table in a reasonable amount of time? You’re not alone, dinnertime can be one of the most stressful parts of the day on top of all your other parenting and homemaking responsibilities. Making meals every day can be a challenge but these six easy fixes will make dinnertime less stressful and easier.
I opened up my email this week to read a note from a super stressed out Mom asking for suggestions to help manage everyday responsibilities, in particular the dinnertime rush. By 5 o’clock when she gets off work, zooms to pick up her kids and the minute she walks in the door has to start making dinner. After a long day, she is one tired mama and the last thing she wants to do is cook which is why her family ends up ordering out a couple times a week. She knows eating out often isn’t healthy, and their budget is taking a hit, not to mention her own sanity needs a better way to approach making meals.
I felt like I could have written this myself. This was ME three years ago and when I talk to my friends, this is something they all seem to struggle with.
In the early years of my parenting journey, the dinner hour turned into a love-hate relationship. Mostly because this was the same time my kids were getting handsey with each other, all three of them would act out for attention, and I would rifle through the pantry trying to pull together something that wasn’t breakfast dinner or grilled cheese for the umpteenth night in a row.
This summer my husband took over making meals and it was pretty awesome. (Actually, it was way better that awesome, it was a-mazing!) Unfortunately all good things come to an end.
See, he works in the college sports world and all those games you see on TV take place at night. Now that Football season has started, he’s making his paycheck right when dinner is served most nights of the week, which means meals fall squarely on my shoulders.
Fortunately I’ve wised up the last six years and have systems in place so that meal time is no longer the hardest part of my day, but now one of the easiest. I wanted to share these tips with you so they might help cut the chaos out of dinnertime at your house too – and save you from ordering take out with these simple fixes.
6 Quick Fixes to Make Dinnertime Less Stressful
Meal Plan Your Dinners for the Week
- Read this 7 step method to mastering meal planning.
- I like to plan for one week at a time because we run through produce quickly, but you can do two weeks or even one month at a time too.
- This simplifies meals, makes you a more efficient grocery shopper and ultimately saves your grocery budget when you have a plan and aren’t making frequent trips to pick up supplies.
Stock Up With Freezer Meals
- Having a stash of already-prepared and ready-to-go meals in the freezer is seriously a LIFESAVER, especially on nights where you have activities or don’t want to do anything more than turn on the over and pull on your yoga pants.
- I’m in love with MyFreezEasy, a weekly subscription of freezer meal recipes. You’ll receive a shopping list & recipes each week that are meant to be cooked in ONE HOUR on the weekend so you have a full week’s worth of meals.
- This is a huge timesaver in my house and one small hour of prep on the weekends gives me meals for the entire week! While my husband watches the kids or they nap, I cook and we’re golden for the next seven days. Genius, right??
Choose Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less
- The more simple you make meals, the less prepping, dicing, cooking and time it takes to prepare.
- Check out Pinterest for simple meals searching for 3 or 5 ingredient meals!
Double the Batch
- When I make meals the kids like, I make double the amount so I can freeze the extra meal, pull it out to thaw and warm it up in the oven next time.
- The crockpot is wonderful to drop in your ingredients in the morning or during nap time in the middle of the day and have dinner ready on time.
- Pastas, chicken dishes, lasagna, soup, chili and simple ingredient dishes do awesome with low heat, long-cook times.
Sign up for Pre-Prepped Meal Subscription Services
- Companies like Sunbasket are all the rage – my friends swear by these services. Basically, you sign up for the meals online, and every week or whatever period of time you select, you receive ingredients prepared for you and you cook at home.
- Get 50% off Family Meals from Sun Basket! Fresh organic and sustainable ingredients and kid-friendly recipes delivered!
These six methods are easy to begin implementing and when you spend one hour each week prepping and planning, you’ll feel less stressed and the 5 o’clock hour won’t be so hard any longer. These six quick fixes will make dinnertime less stressful and more enjoyable.
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