By Christine Steendahl
Another summer has quickly passed us by. The kids have reluctantly gone back to school. It stands to reason that life should be a little less hectic, right? Unfortunately, that’s usually not the case. Between all of your daily ‘Mom obligations’, helping with homework and providing transportation to every extra-curricular activity under the sun, you probably have little time to devote to dinner planning.
Many times busy parents resort to hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza or frequent trips to a fast-food restaurant. That’s not healthy for you or the kids – not to mention its pretty rough on the family grocery budget.
Kitchen time savers
There are things you can do to cut down on time spent in the kitchen. Pick one day a week and prepare several freezer friendly meals. You can even go the extra mile and package them in individual serving size containers. Doing so will provide your family with a larger variety of entrée choices, on any given day.
Do you have friends that are intrigued with the idea of a one-day a week cooking spree or a meal planning service? Get together with 2 or 3 of them. Each of you decides on 2 main dishes you want to prepare. Buy enough ingredients to make the entrees for each family.
You need to plan ahead
One simple thing that you can do is keep an ample supply of fresh fruits, salad ingredients, soups and fresh sandwich fixings, on hand. Quick meals such as this are nutritious and don’t require a great deal of preparation time.
If you take on the task of meal planning and want to get in the habit of consistently putting together weekly menus yourself, you may be surprised at how much time it involves. Did you know that the typical family meal planner spends roughly 3 hours per week combing through cookbooks, choosing recipes and compiling a grocery list? That translates into 156 hours, per year. Yikes!
A menu service can help
You can say goodbye to last minute thrown together meals and eliminate the stress of dinner planning for your family by subscribing to a meal planning service. This type of service is very affordable, usually costing only a few cents per day. Menus are often designed to be family friendly and easily adaptable.
When you purchase a subscription to a service such as this, your membership will typically feature a weekly menu emailed right to your inbox. This includes seven main dish recipes, side dish suggestions and dessert ideas. As an added benefit, you receive a detailed shopping list, categorized by aisle, which makes your trip to the grocery store that much easier. Simply cross off items already in your pantry, add any other products you may be in need of and you’re off!
If you enjoy planning your own menu, you may want to consider a dinner planning service, in addition to your own choices. Why? It will still save you time, in the long run. Use the membership menu as a base. Then, search for recipes that will deliciously compliment that weekly plan.
Remember, nothing is more important than family time. Don’t let dinner planning get you down. Consider the suggestions we’ve made and you’ll spend less time slaving over hot stove and more time with the people you love.
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