Perhaps lately your home cooked dinner has come out of a box a lot. Perhaps this box has made you too acquainted with “Captain Crunch” or other “lucky” cereal. Perhaps another bowl of cereal for dinner is quickly beginning to feel like the nuclear option. Before you get ready to enroll yourself in the parenting hall of shame (but please, a little cereal for breakfast every now and then won’t hurt anyone), please consider a few of these options. They offer great, quick, and healthy dinner options, for you and your time strapped family.
Have some exciting menu options for your family. Food Network Celebrities from the likes of Melissa D’arabian and Sunny Anderson to Rachael Ray and Aaron Sanchez, offer great, fast, and healthy dinner options for your food savvy kids. From slow cooker tortilla soup to oven fried chicken, there are 13 options listed to suit everyone’s palate. One of my personal favorite websites is allrecipes.com. This site is a clearinghouse for recipes of every kind, including the healthy and quick family kind. One of my favorite things to do when thinking about what is for dinner is go to this site and search for quick and easy versions of well liked foods; use them; and then bookmark them.
Have a plan. A meal won’t feel like a swift, strong pinch or gut punch if it was planned. Perhaps on the weekend (or maybe when you’re waiting at a practice or game) sketch out the week ahead in terms of meals for your family. Family favorites can be intermixed with recipes that spark your interest or better yet the discriminating tastes of your eaters. Family meal planning can become a fruitful time to discuss healthy choices, budgets, and preferences. Part of your plan should be to maximize shortcuts where you can. Think of the many forms a roast can take. Sundays chicken roast can become Monday’s chicken potpie or Wednesday’s soup. It might make sense to name a certain day of the week pasta night or fish night. That can eliminate some of the meal question every week. Don’t forget a leftover night! Not only will it ease planning, it will reduce or eliminate food waste.
Small efforts can make big results when it comes to saving time. Consider chopping all vegetables at once for the week. If you need onions or garlic for a recipe, bag up what you don’t need for later in the week. Along these same lines, cook large! If you double or triple what you are making, you will have plenty to freeze and save for another day. How nice to pull something out of the freezer in the morning! Consider your crockpot or slow cooker! How nice to start something in the slow cooker or crock-pot in the morning and come home to it in the evening!
Every busy parent I know has a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to nights that run away from them. From cereal nights to grilled cheese nights to breakfast for dinner nights and takeout nights, sometimes every trick has to be pulled. Yet as most parents do not want to feel like tricksters, some simple planning and forethought can produce great, delicious, healthy, and popular dinners for all….