A special post for those of you with kids…
School hasn’t even started yet, but you may already be overwhelmed thinking of the craziness ahead. Besides getting homework done, there may be soccer practice/track/dance/gymnastics/religious school/karate/tennis/insert-your-time-and-money-consuming-activity-here. Many of these fall into the 4 to 7 pm hours, inconveniently pushing dinner aside.
Many of us will resort to fast food, delivery or going out on these crazy nights. If it were only once a week, no problem–but it’s often almost every day of the week.
Sit-down family dinners encourage healthy eating, help facilitate conversation with the kids, and are generally a relaxing little “island” in an otherwise crazy day.
I encourage you to think of your dinner schedule, too, as you start planning for Fall. How can you give your family a nutritious meal with your crazy schedule? Here are 5 ideas, hopefully 1 or 2 will resonate with you:
- A few days a week, condense activities or at least schedule some to end by 6 pm so you’re home in time to make a meal. If this seems impossible to you, try to clear just 1 weeknight to be home in time to cook.
- Here is a prep-ahead meal you can start the night before, then just throw into the oven
You can sub turkey sausage if you like. Super easy and tasty, just throw the chicken and marinade into a resealable bag the night before. While it’s cooking, you can get the rest of dinner prepped and help the kids with homework.
- 5 minute meal: precooked rotisserie chicken + a starch like bread/pasta/rice + steam-in-bag veggies + cut fruit. Here’s a quick and delicious veggie recipe:
Buy a bag of prewashed sugar snap peas, and a bag of Haricot Verts from Trader Joe’s. Take out the amount you want to cook. Quickly cut the green beans in half. Chop a shallot finely. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and a teaspoon or two of butter. Melt. Add shallot to pan and stir, cooking about 3 minutes (do not burn). Add the snap peas and green beans to pan and stir, about 1-2 minutes until coated. Add 3 Tbsp water to pan and COVER the pan. Let cook about 3 minutes. Remove cover, salt and pepper to taste, and let cook a few more minutes till most of the liquid is evaporated and you have the texture you want. Note: for those who want plain veggies, just leave some aside and steam separately.
- Try a crockpot meal 1 day a week, start in morning.
- Leftovers! Cook a Sunday dinner, then Monday transform your leftovers. For example, make a chicken dish for Sunday, then shred the leftover chicken and use to make tacos. This is truly a 5 minute meal if you’re using leftover chicken, premade taco shells or tortillas, and you can even get the pre-shredded pre-washed veggies to go in the tacos or burritos. Throw in some canned vegetarian refried beans as a high-fiber addition.
I love the new cookbook “THE MOM 100” by Katie Workman. Check it out if cooking has become an unwelcome chore.
Let the craziness begin!