Spring baseball season is here again and one of the first things to fly into the outfield is family dinnertime. As a mom of four scattered, school-age kids, it is quite the feat to magically make dinner appear each night, even on the best of days. Add to that spring sports, the drive thru temptation, and the food budget will take a fatal hit. So here are some things I’ve gleaned along the way that may help us all curtail the disappearance of dinner – no matter what the season.
1) Keep dinner simple. Food does not have to be elaborate to be good. Stick to simple, easy recipes with fewer ingredients. If it’s too complicated, you set yourself up for failure!
2) Think of eating out as an occasion, not a habit, or quick fix.
3) Have a plan.Have a simple, practical dinner menu, and better yet, have it done for you by the best “mental maid” a $5 dollar bill could ever buy, E-mealz. It does wonders to have it off your mind and on a piece of paper. Not having a plan will quickly translate into money down the drain.
4) Make a realistic goal. Purpose to eat dinner together, around the table, face to face, 4 to 5 times a week. It’s easy to set unrealistic goals (with good intentions), but then we set ourselves up for frustration and guilt. Though it is not ideal, some nights you will eat “in shifts”, but at least there is a warm meal and you have curtailed the fast food dug out! E-mealz menus are number coded for the very reason to make it easy for you to reduce a 7 day menu to a 4 to 5 day menu if you so desire.
5) Think about dinner for 2 minutes in the morning. If I can get in my head early in the day what we will fix for dinner, then that is half the battle. Figuring out what to fix is what plagues most parents the most! I take one glance at my E-mealz menu, decide which meal, then come 5 o’clock, there is no mental stress or stare into the cupboard.
5) Make dinner after breakfast!I finally discovered this trick and it has been the most helpful solution to this chaotic season. Make dinner ahead and put it in the refrigerator. Dinner is there for everyone no matter what each person’s schedule. Grab a plate, serve it up, a few minutes in the microwave and dinner appears!
6) The crock-pot can be your new best friend, especially on game days. Game overtime? Not to worry – a warm dinner will be waiting. If you have never used a crock-pot, you can purchase them for around $30, money well spent. If you don’t have any crock-pot recipes, at E-mealz we make those recipes a regular occurrence on our menus – recipes that are simple, frugal, and hassle free.
The ‘home plate’ awaits you, not just at the ball field, but right in your very own kitchen. We hope E-mealz can help beat the odds against the disappearance of dinner and that your family will have a winning dinner time season!