You may have an amazing meal plan and grocery shop with the best lists, so when the kids ask, “What’s for Dinner?” you already have an answer. You have got it together and I’d love to know your story. Seriously, how do you do it and keep doing it for more than three days?
Maybe you are more like me, I can’t be the only one who does this: I always forget my list when I go to the grocery store, I don’t feel like cooking every single night, and seriously, who has kids that will eat Brussels Sprouts and Tempeh Stir Fry? I tried, I really did, and had all the good intentions of making wonderful, wholesome meals. Then life got super busy and all the good intentions fell by the wayside.
I scoured the internet looking for ideas on how to simplify dinner at my house. I took a little of this and a little of that and included some of my own ingenuity and this was the result. There are seven days in a week, thus seven dinners. We eat take out once a week, so now we’re down to six meals I have to plan and prepare.
Instead of picking particular recipes, I plan my dinners around the main dish. Going into the grocery store I know the six different meals we’ll have that week, so I buy accordingly. Chicken night, beef night, pasta night, soup and sandwich night, breakfast for dinner night, and kid’s choice. I know what my family likes to eat, so I know on pasta night we’ll have alfredo with shrimp one week and maybe vodka sauce with meatballs then next week. Chicken night could be teriyaki chicken with rice or chicken pot pie. You know your family as well and you can probably name the top three favorite dishes they’ll all eat.
Kid’s choice night is usually something like pizza, which I’ll healthy up by adding a salad, or hamburgers, which can be created in so many ways everyone is sure to enjoy them. Breakfast night is always a favorite because we are all early risers and rarely eat a fully cooked breakfast on any given morning.
Simplicity is key:
- Go to the Grocery Store: Try to shop once a week or every two weeks so you are prepared.
- Buy Foods your Family Will Actually Eat: Pick your family favorites and make sure your pantry and freezer are stocked with those. (I buy all my pasta and sauces at the beginning of the month or when they are on sale.)
- Do Your Best to Plan Ahead: Try to run through your kitchen before shopping just to see what you have. For instance, this week when I headed to the grocery I found we were completely out of chicken, but we had two different types of beef. Obviously, I bought chicken and no beef.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new or resort to something easy. Did you get what I am saying here? Maybe you had a super long day at work and just don’t want to try out the new panini recipe for soup and sandwich night. Go with tomato soup and grilled cheese, it’s ok to sideline a recipe until you are feeling it. On the flip side, maybe you’re off work and have all day to work on the amazing chicken pot pie recipe from your grandma. It may be a recipe you enjoy making for years down the road.
Don’t beat yourself up if your kids are only eating three things right now, and you can’t stick with the amazing meal plan that includes quinoa with roasted bell peppers and sweet chili lime roasted herbed chicken breasts with a light seasoned olive oil glaze. (I don’t know if that is a real thing, but I think I read it somewhere.) Unless you just enjoy cooking and have a knack for meal planning, give your family something that isn’t burnt and enjoy time around the table. If all else fails you can always call on your trusty Chinese delivery place, right?