Life is busy! It can be challenging to carve out time for the family to sit together for dinner. No one understands this more than we do. However, we make a point of doing this whenever we are home because we know it is a critical time for family bonding. We literally make it an appointment. Even when we occasionally “door-dash” dinner, we still serve it out and sit together at the table.
Eating dinner together as a family is so important for your kids. Science shows that children who eat dinner with their family:
- perform better at school
- have higher fitness levels
- have better mental health
- have stronger relationships
- make better food choices
- have lower rates of obesity
- are less aggressive
- have a lower risk of substance abuse
Sounds great, but how can busy Warriors carve out time to make it happen on a regular basis? I know it can be tough, especially if you’re a single parent. I’m so fortunate to have a wonderful partner now, but I was a single mom for a few years, so I understand the struggle to get it all done.
Here are 6 hacks to help you make family dinners easier.
Get pre-diced veggies. All that slicing and dicing takes time. Chop minutes off your prep time by opting for pre-cut produce.
Ask the butcher to chop your meat. Want to save time? The next time you’re at the grocery store, stop by the meat department and see if the butcher will chop your chicken, beef, or other animal protein into bite-sized chunks. You can keep on shopping and pick it up when you’re done.
Use your food processor. Sometimes, I feel like my food processor is my BFF. I use it all the time. Simply toss your veggies in there and flip it on. Just make sure you don’t leave it on too long or everything will turn to mush.
Get cozy with your slow cooker. You can make tasty soups, stews, and chili without all the effort. Just put the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and by the time you get back home from work, it’s ready.
Double up on recipes. One of the best tricks any parent can do is make twice as much as you need of any meal and put the extra portions straight into the freezer for another day.
Repurpose your leftovers. Kids may not want to eat the same thing two days in a row. So take your chicken and veggies from the night before, re-heat them with some black beans or scrambled eggs, add your favorite salsa, and wrap them in greens (romaine, lettuce, or kale) to make spicy taco cups. Or use a vegan wrap to make burritos. The little ones may not even realize they’re eating leftovers.
In our home, dinner time is a fun time for the family to unwind and talk about our high points and our challenges for the day. I’d love to know what dinner time traditions you engage in with your family. Please leave comments below.
For more life hacks, tune in to The Brain Warrior’s Way “Mom Hacks to Stay More Effective Every Day” podcast with Dr. Darria Gillespie.