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Common Challenges: Dreaded Dinner Decisions

Making good decisions for meals starts with what I have on hand in my pantry and kitchen.  Basically, if I don’t have the food or the organization, I struggle with ideas and get stressed with the little time I have to make dinner for my family.  Between the end of the work day and daycare pickup, all of a sudden I’m ordering out again which is an added expense and an added frustration.

In my house both me and my husband work with commutes, and struggle daily with the tag team event of who’s picking up the kids and getting dinner started.  It is imperative that I have food in the house and have an organized menu put together to prevent going into crisis mode and calling for delivery or running to get something quick before bath and bedtime is upon us.  For those of you who have homework and team sports, I can imagine dinner time is an even more stressful event.

I’ve found the following tactics work for me and my family.  If we sway too far from the plan we end up off track, so it’s important that all the adults are aware of the plan and able to make the commitment to make it a success.

  • Every Saturday morning while the kids are watching some cartoons or playing a game a five day menu is put together for dinner meals.  Five days is for five fresh dinners, one leftover dinner, and one weekend event which is left open as we usually grill with friends or visit a restaurant.
  • Sunday is our big meal.  The recipe is doubled so this meal acts as a leftover meal during the week.
  • Based off the menu, a grocery list is made and coupons are researched through  I only cut the coupons for what I was planning to buy.
  • On our designated grocery shopping day, one of the adults grocery shops by themselves or with one of the kids to divide and conquer.
  • Once the food is home, it is immediately packed up into portion sizes and either frozen or put in the refrigerator dependent on the menu.
  • Every morning the meat or meatless frozen item is taken out of the freezer to be thawed and ready for use by dinner time. 
The first adult home starts dinner and has a snack ready for the kids as we enter transition mode, the craziest part of our day.  We then eat our dinner, relax a bit and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.  I truly feel it’s my responsibility as a parent and dietitian to provide good substantial meals for my family. If I don’t make it a priority or a commitment, it won’t happen and my family is too important to me to move this down the priority list.  What commitments do you make to your family to provide them with healthy meals? Please share I’m always looking for new ideas.  Good luck and be well.


Kathryn said…
Great ideas. I am starting a healthy cooking co-op among 5 families that want to put healthy meals on the table every night. We will each make 2 different recipes of 5 meals that serve 4-6 people. We freeze them and then swap meals so each family gets 10 homemade healthy frozen meals. If I combine this idea with yours I will be able to stretch my melas out.
Ask Amy said…
That sounds like a great idea Kathryn. I've always wanted to do that. Keep me posted on how the co-op goes. Maybe I'll suggest that to my neighbors;)

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