Food + NutritionParenting & Motherhood Tips

You are Not Alone in the Dinner Time Crazy

Every day for the countdown until Christmas I will be having guest bloggers visit my page and share some tips they have learned along the way in their motherhood journey. Be on the look out for our Guest Bloggers Series

by Sophie Piper from www.realfoodiefamily.com

A little while back, I asked my readers what was the hardest part about getting dinner on the table.

My fellow mamas responded and here’s what they had to say!

Over half of them said their biggest headache in the kitchen is time! Can we get an amen? I totally got it and I am going to go out on a limb and assume you can relate too.

I got one more telling answer. More than anything these moms wanted practical healthy meals. They did  NOT want an elaborate cashew cream sauce over zucchini noodles, you want a meal that won’t cost you your sanity. They wanted a meal that comes together without a lot of brain power, so you can power through while your kiddos decide whether or not Santa can come in if there’s a fire in the fireplace.

I can’t fix the five o’clock meltdowns or the frozen chicken in your freezer, but I have come up with a solution that has made a tremendous difference for our meal times.

I am not going tackle the huge discussion on what healthy eating is or isn’t right here in this post. We all have different bodies with different needs, so it only makes sense that all of our diets are going to vary. I am not here to sell you on a one size fits all diet. In fact, I don’t believe that exists! However, I think we can all agree that a little less eating out and a little more homemade real food is going to be best for everyone.

The problem is, well, life. You guys, I’ve started a gazillion tasks today, and only completed like five. It’s the life of a Mom and it’s totally okay. Still, dinner needs to happen and I have to push past the tyranny of the urgent to make room for the important. For us, eating a balanced diet is a priority.

That’s when I realized I needed to have a time every day where I took a moment to regroup and think through dinner. I call this my “Meal Planning Minute” and take a 15 minute break from whatever I am doing to actually read over my recipes, check for ingredients, throw chicken in the crockpot, or go ahead and dice a few veggies.

I have picked 2:30 to be my meal planning minute. My kids are still younger, so this is during their nap/ quiet time.

The questions I ask during my Meal Planning Minute:

  • Do I have all the ingredients I need for what I am planning to cook?
  • How can I give myself a head start, so dinner can come together in 15 minutes or less?
  • What time should I start prepping dinner to eat when I want to?

These questions are answered quickly and by taking 15 minutes out of my afternoon, I quite often save myself 45 minutes in the kitchen at the end of the day when I tend to be weary.

My meal planning minute is a way I have learned to be kind to myself! It alleviates stress and enables me to be less worn out at the end of the day.

I have created a pretty watercolor printable to place in my kitchen to serve as a reminder. Some days, I miss the 2:30 time slot, but as long as I remember to actually have a meal planning minute our night goes much more smoothly!

If you are all like, “Okay, Sophie this is great and all but I don’t even have a meal plan for the week! It feels way to overwhelming!” I hear you and I totally get that. Still, I am going to ask you to trust me. Give it a try for one week. Meal plans and all. I’m willing to bet you save time and money! Please promise me to not go all out and plan elaborate meals. Go for easy!

I’ve made a pretty water color printable to remind you to be kind to yourself and go ahead and have that Meal Planning Minute.

Grab your free printable here:

About the Author

Sophie’s path of navigating an autoimmune disease and challenging food allergies have driven her to lead her family of four through incremental change toward greater health. Her blog, Real Foodie Family, shares practical recipes, meals plans, and resources for moms who value clean eating, real life, and no food-shaming!

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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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