This post features tips for an easy weeknight family meal. It has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HelloFreshPics #CollectiveBias #cbias
I’ve always loved cooking, but somewhere around the birth of my twins, it stopped being enjoyable for me. I had so much else going on with my kids, family and schedule that I was seriously in a cooking rut. I didn’t have the time meal plan the way I really wanted to. When a friend suggested I try HelloFresh, all that changed. Cooking became FUN again – and my family began to eat more variety. Because the cuisine changes and allows you to try new flavors, each box was like going out to dinner at a new restaurant every night.
September is a crazy month for most families, mine included. Our family calendar is seriously out of control. With new activities starting up, practices, and back to school nights, we’re juggling a lot. Finding the time to sit down and have a family dinner can feel next to impossible with three little ones, especially when you have very little time. The time of day doesn’t help much either. My kids are their most energetic at dinner time and getting them to settle down can be a challenge. Below, I’ve listed some of my tips for making sure we fit in that family dinner – making it easier (and yummier) for everyone.
5 Tips for an Easy Weeknight Family Meal
1. Don’t Try the Impossible
Let’s face it, there are some nights (I’m looking at you Tuesdays & Wednesdays) where the schedule is just going to be crazy. If you can swing a family dinner every night – awesome – but if you’re like my family, we simply cannot do it some nights. Don’t try to schedule a family dinner on a night when you know you’re strapped for time or family members will be home late. Pick nights when you know everyone can make it without rushing. Start small and be realistic about scheduling family dinners. .
2. Be Social
A dinner with the television on or cell phones at the table is NOT a family dinner. I try to gather my kids around the table before dinner starts and engage them in conversation with me and with each other. One way I do this is by putting brown butcher paper on the table. Number one – this makes clean up a breeze, but it also allows my kids to sit a the table longer.
I write questions on the table for them and my son reads them aloud to his younger sisters.
I also like to leave math problems for my son and allow my daughters’ to practice letters/numbers and handwriting.
Not only do they love the coloring before dinner – I never hear a single complaint or question about when dinner will be ready.
3. Make it Simple
Cooking does not need to be complicated. When I tried HelloFresh for the first time, I rediscovered my love of cooking, without the prep work, shopping and meal planning that my schedule didn’t allow for. HelloFresh has been my answer to the family dinner. The packages come with everything you need – three meals in each box – and practical step-by-step recipe cards that make it easy!
Everything is there that you need and pre-measured ingredients mean little or no waste. What I love the most though, is the variety of fresh foods my family is enjoying. In a given month, HelloFresh subscribers enjoy more than 50 types of fresh produce, and more than 20 herbs and spies and experience as many as 15 cuisines. I love it when my kids have to ask me ‘what vegetable is that?’ and then they actually try it. The meals are nutritionally balanced to include a protein, fresh vegetables and a starch and come with a complete nutritional profile at the approval of the in-house R.D., Rebecca Lewis.
In 30 minutes or less, without the grocery shopping and planning, you’ll have an amazing meal on your table that you’ll feel good about. The time and effort that you would otherwise spend on planning and prepping can instead be spent on your family.
4. Invite your Kids to Help
What’s better than time around the table? Time spent in the kitchen helping Mom or Dad to cook.
Instead of rushing around the kitchen trying to prepare a meal, everything is ready to go in the HelloFresh meal packages. I just have to remove the box from the fridge and start cooking. So now, when my kids ask to help, I have the time to show them, share with them and let them discover the fun of cooking.
5. Try New Things
I once asked my kids what they love about going out to dinner. They used to beg us all the time and it turns out they liked the variety and discovering something new to have on the menu. Not that long ago, I was a new mom and struggling to find balance. You start to repeat what works – including meals. My kids were getting sick of the same rotation of dinner and actually preferred seeing something new at the table each week. With HelloFresh, we are guaranteed 3 NEW meals each week and my kids, husband and I have come to love this!
Here’s just a sample of what we enjoyed this past week:
Day 1: Jamie Oliver’s Oozy Shrimp Risotto
Day 2: Crispy Chicken with Brown-Butter Corn adn Cucumber Tomato Salad
Day 3: Roasted Pork with Balsamic Fig Sauce, Green Beans and Rosemary Potatoes.
With Day 1, I was excited because my kids loved trying something so different. They haven’t always been fans of shrimp, but they really enjoyed this meal. In January 2016, HelloFresh and Chef Jamie Oliver teamed up to get more people cooking fresh food. This partnership gives new cooking inspiration from Jamie and the exact ingredients needed for them in the HelloFresh deliveries.
Quick Subscriber Tip: Hole punch your recipe cards from each week and place them in a binder. Now, you have a great reference for all the fabulous recipes you’ve prepared.
Family dinners are possible!
Want more info about how HelloFresh can help your family have more family dinners together?
Learn more about HelloFresh HERE. Browse the website, see the recipes and order!
DISCOUNT: Take advantage of a special discount code for $35 off your first box! Just use code StephanieC35 when ordering.