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Big List of Great Time Management Hacks for Busy Parents

Big List of Great Time Management Hacks for Busy Parents
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They say time is money. If that is true for parents as well, then let’s all face it: we are pretty much broke.
Here’s the good news: with a few simple tweaks you can stop losing time, and start saving time and sanity.
As a veteran mom of over 20 years for 7 children here are my top 10 time and sanity saving hacks, after all, it takes more effort to be disorganized than it does to be organized.

You don’t have to be a slave to all systems. However, if you want to retain your sanity put as many of the following hacks into place.

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1) Have bedtimes for your children

Getting the children to sleep on time is the best win-win I have heard of. Children do better in school with the correct amount of sleep and it makes the mornings way easier, dealing with children who are well rested. Guess what else? Parents do better when they aren’t spending their evenings cajoling exhausted children into bed. Don’t feel bad, 80% of children do not go to sleep on time. Need a primer? Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr Weissbluth is a must read.

2)Meal plan

Stop playing ‘guess what’s for dinner?’ with the 4 remaining non-mouldy ingredients at the bottom of your fridge. Force yourself into making a one week meal plan? No idea where to begin? Think of last week’s dinners! Write them on an index card and paste on the fridge and try it out for a week and tweak.

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3) Bulk shop on the weekends

Yup. Make your meal and snack lists ahead and buy ahead so you can cook like a pro.

4) Get as much delivered as possible

However, before you head out the door make sure you have leveraged Amazon subscribe and save, Costco.com and any other delivery service place of your choice so that you are not schlepping items that can be delivered for the same price. Your time and energy is precious.

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5) Bulk goods area

However, before you become the queen of all things delivered to your home make sure have created a bulk goods space – your very own mini Costco. If you are tight for space consider going vertical and making a shelf up high in a laundry area or similar unused ‘up high’ space. Word to the wise: hide those bulk chips up high away from little fingers or Mama’s midnight munchies.

6) Kitchen Gadgets all time-savvy parents need

All productive parents will require a crock pot, a rice cooker and an immersion blender. Extra credit for a cookie scooper and a copious quantity of gallon Ziploc bags and a sharpie marker (keep it up high!)

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7) Make your freezer your best friend

You will be spending more time preparing food than you ever expected. Make your freezer your best friend. It is literally freezing time. Start with seasoning fish and freezing it, chopped veg, soups and then progress onto more advanced items. Consider doubling your meal recipes and cooking one portion and freezing the other. Wrap items in aluminium foil and a Ziploc bag and write in permanent marker both on the outside and on a piece of paper taped onto the aluminium.

8) The Ultimate Kitchen Time Hack

Bulk preparation meets freezer meets crock pot. You will never catch me staying up all night reading a thriller, but a cookbook on bulk cooking for the freezer and pairing it with a crock pot? I will be up all night! Start with making a slot in your calendar for bulk preparing of meatballs ( vegetarians please forgive me) use a cookie scooper to freeze them onto parchment paper on cookie sheets. Freeze them for a full day and then put them into double gallon Ziploc bags. Once a week before you leave to work put the meatballs together with the marinara sauce of your choice and half as much water into your crock pot. Set your timer on your rice cooker and voila. Or make pasta when you walk in. It’s a win-win either way

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9) Back to the ice age

Most people don’t realize that even the most basic of ovens manufactured within the past 10 years have a preset button on it. This preset button is a delight as it allows you to put dinner into the oven ahead of time and preset it to go off at the time of your choice. This can be a simple dinner such as fish sticks or a less basic chicken marsala. If you are concerned that the food will be in the oven ‘waiting’ for too long you can leverage those ice cubes by covering your chicken with them. If you are concerned that your dish will be too watery consider resting your pot on a tray full of ice cubes for the benefits of the chill without your food getting watered down.

10) Landing Spot

With a small tribe there is a lot of coming and going. Make sure you have a landing spot near your front entrance way that supports that. If you live in a cold climate then create an efficient spot for all those boots, jackets and snuggly paraphernalia. Live in the warmer states? Then make sure the bug spray and sunscreen is all good to go. Have a spot for book bags there too. Same goes for any projects/show and tell/things to return to friends that have to make it into the car on those busy mornings.

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Published on July 22, 2021

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

    These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

    Get the recipe here.

    2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

      This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

      To try this recipe, go here.

      3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

        Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

        Check out the recipe here.

        4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

          Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

          5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

            This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

            Find the recipe here.

            6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

              The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

              Get the recipe for this dish here.

              7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                You can find the recipe here.

                8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                  Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                  Find the recipe here.

                  9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                    This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                    Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                    10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                      Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                      The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                      11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                        Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                        Find the recipe here.

                        12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                          This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                          Find the recipe here.

                          13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                            Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                            This easy recipe can be found here.

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                            14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                              Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                              Find out how to make it here.

                              15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                The recipe can be found here.

                                16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                  This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                  Find the recipe here.

                                  17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                    Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                    Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                    18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                      Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                        Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                        20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                          Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                          Get the recipe here.

                                          Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                          Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                          Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                          1. Lose the Sugar

                                          Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                          2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                          Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                          3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                          Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                          When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                          Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                          Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                          More Healthy Eating Tips

                                          Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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