It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
Trying to figure out what to make for dinner–every day.
Or worse yet–you’re half way done with dinner and you realize you’re missing an ingredient.
Despite your best efforts, dinner is still your worst enemy. Everyday at 5:00, it stares you in the face like a 200-pound lineman waiting to devour you. It takes no holidays (in fact those come with even more expectations), no breaks, and doesn’t care if you’re sick or had a bad day.
You may think you’re just not a good cook.
Maybe you’re questioning why you ever try to serve anything other than chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.
Well, take heart.
A few tweaks in the way you prepare for dinner can completely transform how you and your family enjoy dinner.
WHY STARTING DINNER AT 5:00 IS SABATOGING YOUR DINNER EFFORTS
First of all, there are a couple of good, solid reasons why you should never start dinner at 5:00. Yes, you read that right. You should not wait until 5:00 to start on dinner.
The first reason relates to a fatal assumption that many beginning (and even some experienced) cooks make: they assume after a long day of work or home management, errands, homework help, and kids begging for a snack that they will actually want to make dinner.
You might (perhaps even unconsciously) be a victim of this mindset.
You may think that waiting until dinner time will inspire you with a magical idea of an amazingly easy and delicious dinner your entire family will love you for making.
But the truth is that it won’t. You are just too busy, too distracted, and too tired to get anything started that late in the day.
It’s human nature. You can’t get around it.
The biggest problem is, of course, that when you do finally decide on a meal to prepare, you discover you’re out of a key ingredient.
It’s maddening, right?
Now you have a big decision to make.
Do you give up on dinner and order pizza or do you pile all the kids (who, at this time of day, resemble monkeys more than your sweet angels) in the car and make a trip to the grocery store at the busiest time of day?
It’s really a Catch 22 with no great solution.
So what do you do?
I can guess what you think the answer is, and I’ll tell you right now: It’s not eating out or opening another bag of chicken nuggets.
HOW TO BECOME THE MASTER OF YOUR FOOD IN 3 MEASLY STEPS
Welcome to stress-free cooking!
Sounds like utopia, right?
Did you know ABC News recently followed a family who loved to eat out to see which is really faster: eating out or cooking at home. They discovered that while people think it takes less time to go and pick up food, the truth is that cooking a simple meal at home is faster–and cheaper!
This is where a great 90-day supply works for you! It supplies you with a great way to never run out of anything again, a solution for life emergencies, and a plan of action for dinner (tonight, tomorrow, and next week).
- START BUYING A FEW EXTRAS:
A 90-day supply of food should consist of food your family already eats. Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.
2. BECOME THE MASTER OF YOUR FOOD
The secret to great meals is in the planning. The truth is, many people think they hate to cook when they just haven’t figured out how to plan what to cook.
When you plan your dinner menus ahead of time, you eat healthier, save money, reduce stress, and enjoy delicious meals.
Here’s the good news, menu planning isn’t brain surgery.
When you see how simple it is to plan your own meals, you’ll be amazed. Start with one week and work your way up to longer amounts of time.
Of course, you can also check out the newly remodeled and updated Ultimate Everyday Menu Planner: A go-to guide full of irresistible recipes to get dinner on the table the easy way! to get instant access to over 100 of mouth-watering recipes and menu plans along with brilliant tips for getting dinner on the table.
Or do-it-yourself with our no-fail tips for menu planning:
- LOOK AT YOUR CALENDAR: Consulting the family calendar and weather before you plan your menu gives you the information to make better decisions. Give yourself a break on Monday (soccer night) with an easy meal, soup on Thusrday during the storm, pizza on Friday with your family movie night, and a roast on Sunday when life has slowed down.
- ASSIGN EVERY FOOD A JOB: With this rule, instead of seeing a jumbled mess of food in the fridge you will see Wednesday’s broccoli, berries for yogurt parfaits, cheese for Tuesday’s enchiladas, and a roast thawing for tomorrow’s dinner. Planning for every aspect of the meal could save you $600 this year (the average cost Americans spend on spoiled food in one year).
- VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE: Variety is what gives a menu all of its flavor. Be sure to vary the types of meals throughout the week. Mix it up, making sure you have different meats (e.g. chicken, fish, beef, pork) and different types of meals (casseroles, roasts, salads, soups, etc.) in the course of the week.
- START PREPARING EARLIER: This is mind-blowing step will change your life. It will make the difference between sticking to your menu and eating greasy take-out tonight. Starting your dinner meal prep much earlier in the day, is your fighting chance for a stress-free meal prep. If you’re always thinking ahead, you are less likely to run out of trim and energy. Plus, your kitchen stays much, much cleaner! Oatmeal can be started in a slow cooker the night before, sandwiches can be made at breakfast, and dinners can be prepped the night before or at lunchtime.
- ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES: You don’t have to be perfect! Not even close! There is no expectation that you never deviate from the menu. We totally understand that life happens. The value in menu planning doesn’t come from managing the easily foreseeable (though if ignored, these will nail you). The value comes from managing the unforeseeable more effectively.
3. HAVE A GOOD BACK UP PLAN
Stuff happens, but it doesn’t need to get you down. With a great 90-day supply, you will have emergency meals you can fall back on when life gets in the way of your plans.
FAMILY DINNER IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR
Why does all of this matter?
Did you know that what happens around the dinner table is some of the most important time you’ll spend together as a family? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, family mealtimes are important because:
- When you regularly eat with your children, your meals are more likely to be healthy and balanced.
- Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three and a half times more likely to abuse prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.
- Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to abuse of diet pills to full-fledged anorexia.
- Parental influence and involvement is an important tool in preventing substance abuse. Regularly sitting down for a meal with your children is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives.(“Get Involved: the Importance of Family Mealtime,”: http://family.samhsa.gov/get/mealtime.aspx)
It’s pretty amazing to see real statistics on the good you’re doing for your family when you eat together as family, isn’t it?
You’ve got this, as always keep up the great work. Your family is worth it.