Back to school time is the time for easy family meals, simple healthy lunches, and fast breakfasts to get you all out the door. What’s behind our meal planning goals? We want to have time together to share the joy, gratitude, and struggles of the day. Healthy meals make our bodies and brains work best. However, we don’t want to be spending so much time in the kitchen alone, being solely responsible for meal planning and feeling exhausted at the end of it all. Check out these quick, easy and simple solutions.
No one wants to be left in the kitchen alone. Parents feel frustrated when they make dinner and everyone moves the food around their plates. Create a family responsibility chart for cooking and clean up. Make each part fun with music and friendly conversation. Have everyone add to the online grocery list to keep everyone in on decisions. Use simple recipes everyone in your family can all cook or do meal prep together where people are mixing and chopping to make dinner. It all comes down to finding ways to get everyone together.
There are lots of ways to order online to make meal prep easier. Start by looking in your local grocery store to order online. There are lots of pre-made salads that can be packed for lunch or eaten at home for dinner. Grocery stores offer prepped meals to simplify your cooking. Use online Costco, Amazon or Instacart subscriptions for bulky weekly purchases like toilet paper and paper towels. Meal subscription services offer variety of options. Choose what is the best fit for your needs. You can subscribe to a variety of these and place these on pause to change things up. Just make sure you order on the same day weekly and plan on the time your delivery is occurring to put away the items.
Doubling up can make cooking easier. Cook once and eat twice by double recipes and freezing the second casserole. Or cook a protein and use it in two different entrees. Sheet pan dinners make large portions with ease. One bowl meals are a hit with families using beans, rice and a protein. Multipliers give you options for multiple ways to feed your family with multiple outcomes for variety. Find one multiplier you can multiply.
Be pantry prepared and freezer ready
There is a lot in your pantry that makes dinner preparation easy. Easy pantry meals include canned proteins, such as tuna or chickpeas. Group your items in your pantry together by meal to “see” ready to go, pantry raid meals. Or organize your pantry like the grocery store and pull items onto the counter that day you are preparing.
Organize your freezer so that you have easy meals to go from freezer to oven. If your tight on freezer space, organize the shelves with flat containers stacked for dinner. Use a dry erase board with a list of freezer meals.
Sandwiches are for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. A variety of breads can simplify your meals. There are so many options including avocado toast, grilled cheese, nut butter toast, and more!
Rely on organization
Get organized and set up a team strategy for preparation. Create a routine that your family packs their own lunches and preps breakfast the night before. A station with bins and baskets with ready to go food, stocked up weekly, will keep your meal prep running smoothly.
Chart your course
Family dinner charts are everywhere on pinterest. Dinner by day, dinner theme days or a dinner grid take away the decision making. Ask your family and create a rotation meal options. In this way, everyone is part of the decision making.
Remember your dinner goals and keep it simple. Pause and give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and your team when you get home. Happy times come from these dinners together.