Making dinner time easier!

How do you simplify dinner time, especially when the afternoon and evening can be such a hectic time for us and our kids? 🍝 

Here's a few tips that work for us: 
🍴 Meal plan: write out all the meals you plan to have for the week, then list all the ingredients and shop from your list. Get your family involved and ask them what meals they would like, or make a list of 31 meals and choose the number meal that corresponds with the date that day (eg. 1 = Spag Bol = 1st of the month)

🍴 Have themed nights each week, eg: - Meatless Monday: eg. quiche
- Taco Tuesday: mexican, eg. Burritos 
- Wordly Wednesday: international dishes, eg. Thai chicken cashew stir fry 
- Try-out Thursday: a new recipe 
- Fun Friday: eg. Pizza, burgers 
- Slow-cooker Saturday: eg. Corned beef 
- Serve-yourself Sunday: get your own meal! 
(For more ideas and different names for each day of the week, check out a blog post I wrote last year click here

🍴 Use your slow-cooker: this can be helpful if you are working all day and have commitments in the afternoon - how nice is it to come home and dinner is ready? 

🍴 Freezer meals: Cook a double-batch of dinner where you can and freeze. Something I always do is make a double lot of rissoles, and then we can use them for burgers the new day. Once a week or once a month set aside a day for a big cook-up of freezer meals, or get some friends involved and each cook a freezer meal and share! 

🍴 If you are bored or stuck for ideas, choose a receipe book and cook your way through it. We are doing this at the moment and it's been fun trying out new meals, and it takes all the guesswork out of what to have for dinner!

🍴 If there is a time during the day that is less hectic for you, prepare as much for dinner as you can, eg. chop the veggies/salad, or if it's something like a lasagna, you could prepare and cook ahead of time. This will save you when 5/6pm rolls around! 

🍴 Save time where you can: buy frozen veggies, pre-cut veggies & salad items, use your microwave & choose to have salad instead of veg if you need to get a meal on the table quickly. If it helps and you can afford it, consider companies who make meals for you and deliver to your door, eg. Lite n Easy. 

🍴 To help with the actual eating part of your evening: keep to a routine so the kids know exactly when they will be eating. Get the kids to set the table (if they are old enough - this will save you some time!) Sit at the table and eat as a family, with no distractions such as TV, and encourage conversation, while role modelling appropriate dinner behaviour. We love our family dinner times! 

More helpful past blog posts: click here and here.

Do you have any extra tips that work well for your family? 🥗 

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