Guest post from Sarah Robinson
It’s August and the time has come where all the children will be going back to school, if they haven’t already. Whether you homeschool or send your children to traditional school, I have a feeling your schedule is about to get a lot busier! Why not streamline your meal time and take a little pressure off of Mom?
8 Tips to Streamline Meal Time
- Plan Your Meals – You can do this by the week or by the month. For me, I like to plan by the week because by the month is too overwhelming for me. I usually only plan 6 meals a week because I know that we like to eat out or just grab sandwiches or something super easy one night per week.
- Do as Much Prep Work in Advance – I like to use my weekly freezer to crockpot menu where I do all the preparing at the beginning of the week. If hamburger needs to be browned and vegetables need to be chopped, I do it on my prep night and then I freeze them until they are ready to be used in the meal.
- Let Everyone Help – Break down the tasks that will need to be done into bite sized pieces and assign each family member that is available to help, a job that they can do to help get you around the table quicker.
- Use Paper Products – Sometimes, not having a bunch more dishes to do just makes life easier. I don’t think you should do this all the time, but maybe keep them on hand for the busier evenings where you have to take a child to dance or karate lessons. If you’re not having a meal that requires a spoon or fork (such as sandwiches or hamburgers), you could consider investing in some lunch baskets to serve your meals in. You place a napkin in the basket and only throw the napkin away and rinsing the basket if it became dirty.
- Clean as You Go – If you make sure the dishwasher is empty at the beginning of your cooking session and also keep some hot soapy water available to quick wash some of your utensils and pots and pans as you go, you’ll be far better off! Clean up after the meal goes much smoother when this is happening!
- Use Your Slow Cooker – I personally love to use my slow cooker every night that I can remember (you’d be amazed at how often I forget). I absolutely love having that smell of dinner ready when daddy comes home at night. I also love that it means I’m not rushing around in the kitchen right up to dinner time hoping to get everyone fed before it gets too late. If you need ideas of what to cook in your slow cooker, you can check out my crockpot recipes.
- Assign Table Chores – The meal is not done until everyone clears their plates and helps to clean up the food and dishes. This includes wiping the table, sweeping the floor, etc. If you’d like some good ideas on how to institute this check out this Table Chores post written by Amy of Raising Arrows.
- Relax & Enjoy Yourself – This is a great way to spend some time with your family. Don’t blow it by sitting in front of the TV while you’re eating. Engage in conversation with one another. You may really enjoy some of the things that you’ll learn.
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