Weekdays are the hectic ones, with the whirlwind of school, work, commute and activities it can prove challenging to get your kids eating good healthy meals every day. Here are some of my tips to relieve the stress of figuring out what’s for dinner and getting it on the table before the kids turn (even more) feral with the hunger.
1. Batchcook. Is she really going on about batch cooking AGAIN? Yes. Look at my week in dinners posts here.. Every week there’s at least one dinner that came from the freezer, which meant a day we ate lovely home-cooked food without having to cook at all. It really is a no-brainer.
2. Freeze leftovers -not the same as batch cooking but you never know when those few leftover mashed potatoes or vegetables will come in handy. I freeze in every conceivable contained and ziploc bag possible. Label them though or it’s lucky dip.
3. Plan ahead. It takes the pressure off each day, but be realistic, don’t plan a roast dinner for a Thursday night after hurling training.
4. Keep the presses stocked – tins of tomatoes, stock cubes, tins of beans and pulses, noodle, eggs, pasta, pesto, spices, wraps, couscous, rice are some of my staples.
5. Keep the freezer stocked – mine has lardons, frozen vegetables, prawns, fish fingers waffles, pizzas, and lots of portions of homemade soup and tomato sauce for example. It’ll pay off on emergency days where your plans change unexpectedly or you get caught in traffic
6. Mix it up: Let your meal plan be a mixture of quick and handy weekday dinners, reheated freezer dinners, and if there’s somebody at home one day easy “bung in the oven and forget about it dinners” (but always make at least double of these).
7. Slow cook. Or so people tell me. I remain unconvinced, so many slow cooker dinners look like sludge. I bought a beautiful little book of slow cooker recipes but have yet to be inspired by it.
8. Write down a list of dinners you tend to make so that most will eat when you’re looking for dinner ideas you can see at a glance. (Ciarán took it upon himself to do ours).
9. Soup is magical, full of veggies hidden from Children’s eyes. Feed them soup and know they’re nourished.This is our favourite, my vegetable haters devour it so I make a vat of it every week.
10. Outsource. Make Friday night pizza night, ask Dominos to make it.
11. Match dinners to schedules and activities. On our swimming day the kids are ravenous and ask for seconds so I tend to do a chili con carne with brown rice or bolognese. On gymnastics day they’re starving but need something fast, that’s a pasta day usually.
12. What’s dinner anyway? There will be crazy days. Cereal for dinner is OK every now and then, or toast, or waffles or toasted sandwiches. You’re doing your best, don’t give yourself a hard time over minor hiccups, and the kids will love you for it.
Check out my week in dinners series here where other bloggers also have shared their weeks in dinners. (For anyone that is waiting I also have one that I must finalise!)