Feeding a family is no small task. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time on grocery shopping, preparing food, and cleaning the kitchen than on anything else in my life. I do love to cook, but the whole thing is still exhausting!
So like many parents, I’m constantly looking for ways to make the food aspect of family life easier.
Below are three “hacks” that have saved time, reduced stress and/or made eating at our house more enjoyable lately.
Making “cheese platters” for dinner.
This is a seemingly fancy way of serving up whatever little nibbles you happen to have in the fridge. If I were to make a salad with this stuff, or sauté it into some mixture, my kids would never eat it. But they view these healthy platters as a treat (as do the grown-ups), so mealtime is actually fun!
2. Cooking a pot of beans or lentils in the morning.
Once or twice a week, I put on a pot of dry beans or lentils while I’m making my morning coffee. An hour later, they’re ready to use in all sorts of dishes: salads, soups, quesadillas, tacos, etc. I usually refrigerate them and deal with the meal preparation later, but at least they’re ready to go when I am! Legumes are such an easy and inexpensive source of protein and so simple to prepare.
3. Turning half-eaten fruit into fruit sauce.
My kids beg for the whole peach/plum/apple/pear but only end up eating part of the fruit before they get full/drop it/throw it on the ground. Luckily, their rejects make the perfect fruit sauce. I simply chop their leftovers into little pieces (any mixture of fruits will do) and simmer with a little water over medium-low heat until the fruit is soft. This sauce can be eaten as-is (chunky) or blended into a smooth puree – it’s tasty either way. And since the sauce comes to a boil and cooks for awhile, you don’t need to worry about kid germs 😉
I’d love to hear what little tricks have been working for you too!
Megan @ Skinny FitaliciousSeptember 17, 2015 at 8:23 am
Great hacks! I especially love the bean one. They always take forever to cook.
christaSeptember 17, 2015 at 9:12 am
I don’t have kids. But meal time is still difficult. I lack creativity and time. But what always seems to be easy and in my fridge/cupboard – quinoa (that I cook a bunch of at the beginning of the week), greens, and an egg (over easy). Tastes delish every time!
Katie @ Mom to Mom NutritionSeptember 19, 2015 at 5:56 am
I love that your platter has pictures of the kids! Can I ask where you purchased that? Thinking a Christmas gift for Nana 😉
CaitlinSeptember 19, 2015 at 8:25 am
I like to turn my kids’ half eaten fruits into smoothies! If I’m not going to use them right away, I prep the leftovers, put them in a freezer bag, and throw them in the freezer. I also turn leftover smoothies into popsicles!
JJOctober 7, 2015 at 9:21 pm
Your cheese platter got me out of a rut today and the kids declared it the best dinner they’ve ever had (not sure if it was the roasted chickpeas or the popcorn on their plates). We also ate it by candlelight so apparently novelty is the key here! Thank you.
My hack is to wash a sweet potato for each person, poke holes all over with a fork, run with coconut oil, and cook on high in crockpot for 3 hours. Dinner! This is good with cheese and bacon, with leftover meat or beans, or just butter and cinnamon!
Amelia WinslowOctober 8, 2015 at 11:18 am
Aw, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me 🙂 I am so glad the platter was a hit!
Love your sweet potato idea – I’ll definitely be trying this!