10 ideas that will help you keep food on the table

I remember helping my god-mother prepare meals for the next day for her family. At the time I was a teenager, and I thought this must be the hardest job in the world. I didn’t see how she made it from day to day with her busy schedule, but some how she managed.

Working, preparing meals and being a mom is no easy task. You can lighten the load by being prepared and not waiting until the day of to decide what’s for dinner. No longer will you tell you kids, “I don’t know what we’re having for dinner, let’s just wing it and go out tonight.”

10 ideas that will help you keep food on the table

…all while having the quality time with your family!

I’ve started prepping the night before and actually cooking when I get home from work.

1. Make a menu plan for the week

There’s no need for you to make this menu by yourself. Always include your family, so they have a chance to get some of their favorite foods during the week.

2. Prepare meals for the week

Pick a day that you prepare meals for the week. The day could be on a Sunday and you can have your family assist you. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed in making all the meals by yourself. It is always fun having family in the kitchen and it makes time go by fast.

I actually meal plan 2 weeks out & shop accordingly. It’s a lot of work but takes the stress out of daily dinner prep.

3. Prepare meals for the month

There are services that you can use that will assist you in preparing meals for a month. The meals are prepared in advance and kept frozen until you’re ready to use them.

4. Have dinner with other family and friends

You can take a night where you have dinner with other family and friends. This could be a potluck dinner night, where everyone contributes a dish. You not only get an evening off from preparing a whole meal for you family, but you also get to spend time with family and friends.

5. Order takeout one evening

Whatever food your family loves, try to order it and have it at home. Chinese, Italian, Mexican or just good American style food would be a great. Make sure you include take out in your budget because you don’t won’t any surprises.

6. Go to your favorite restaurant

This is best done on a the weekends. The family will love it because it is like a big treat. You not only get a big treat, but you spend more quality time with your family. If you can’t afford this, then, make your favorite restaurant food at home, with the help of your family.

7. Stretch side items, by having them with more than just one meal

Make enough sides to have with other meals. You can have rice with a meal on Monday and have enough rice to eat with another meal on Wednesday. This is where good meal planning comes into play.

Sometimes the best planning goes awry. So it’s helpful to have a handful of “go-to” recipes in your head — these are the ones you know by heart with simple ingredients you can count on one hand. Mine usually start with a rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked chicken. Also, I have a great recipe for veggie pasta sauce that I make a double batch of and portion into freezer bags. I add this to regular spaghetti sauce or soup to fortify it with extra vegetables. (The challenge is not to fall back on processed, pre-packaged foods containing harmful additives when you’re short on time and options.)

8. Have leftovers

There’s nothing wrong with eating leftovers, just make sure you warm the leftovers up only one time. You can stretch leftovers by taking only the amount of food you need out of container and heating that portion. If the kids won’t eat their veggies, make a homemade soup with those left over veggies.

9. Prepare meals the night before

If preparing meals for the week or the month is not for you, then you can prepare a meal the night before you plan on serving the meal. There’s no need to go all out by preparing gourmet meals (only if you want to). These meals can be quick, simple and nutritious meals that take only 30 minute of preparation time.

10. Hire someone to prepare all meals for the week

If you have the money to do this, then you can hire someone who does catering to prepare your meals for you. This will free you up to do other things. I wouldn’t do this all the time, only those times, when I am too busy to get in the kitchen.

There are many ways you can save time and get food on the table to your family. The key to getting food on the table is to have a plan. If there is no plan, then you will find yourself dreading meal times with your family. Meal times should be enjoyable times of communicating and eating some good wholesome food with your family. You should never be stressed out and overwhelmed at meal times. Prepare in advance and have a plan and you will be fine.

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