If you’re a parent who makes a healthy homemade dinner every night, consider this sentence a virtual high five. It is downright hard!
Since baby Bennett was born in July, I have almost zero time to prepare meals, especially in the evenings. Most nights we’ve eaten salads, Annie’s Mac & Cheese (with frozen peas or spinach mixed in), or avocado & hummus sandwiches. One night we even had yogurt parfaits for dinner 🙂
But slowly I’m learning how to set myself up for an easier dinner-making process. Below are a few of the things I’ve started doing in the last six weeks that make dinner prep a little less chaotic. I’d love to hear your own tricks too, since I’m a two-kid-newbie!
1. Prepare a few staples ahead of time.
I usually have time during a morning or afternoon nap to put a pot of rice and lentils on the stove. I also either make a sauce or dressing that can be used with the grains or on a salad. This process doesn’t take too long and I can work while everything cooks. Then I at least have some dinner components done, and can combine them in different ways for different meals.
2. Keep a stocked freezer.
It’s summertime and the fresh produce is amazing. But sometimes I run out, or can’t make a complete meal with what I have, and on those nights I head to the freezer. In my freezer most of the time: ravioli or tortellini, tortillas or bread, peas, corn kernels, cauliflower or broccoli, spinach and other leafy greens, edamame, chicken sausage and hot dogs. These items are key when I need to make a meal in minutes.
3. Lower your expectations.
I’m not recommending we all eat microwaveable meals for dinner; I just mean meals might not be as gourmet as they used to (temporarily), and that’s OK. It’s easy to look at Pinterest or other food blogs and feel like everyone else is making fabulous meals all the time, but this probably isn’t reality. If you can put together a simple salad to serve with pita & hummus, you’re doing OK 🙂
KelseyAugust 25, 2014 at 6:32 pm
Great ideas — not only for busy parents, but busy graduate students too 🙂
What kind of ravioli do you buy? I can never find a whole wheat kind!
Amelia WinslowAugust 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm
I like the Whole Foods frozen kind. They have both whole wheat and regular!