Holy smokes. When did summer end? Didn’t it just start? I swear I was just helping my kids clean out their lockers. Now we gotta get back in a schedule? Here’s what we’ve learned that might help out your busy school year.
1) Make Dinner Time a Priority
Sometimes a simple act can have important life-long benefits. According to studies, having a set aside time for meals can do the following:
- Improved grades – It’s not the meat & potatoes. It’s the communication and reinforcement of expectations (like a simple “Got any homework, left?”).
- Foster family bonding – Again with the communication. With busy schedules, dinner time is the perfect time to just reset and be with your family.
- Improve nutrition – This includes picking out more healthy foods, understanding proper cleaning techniques, and proper portions.
- Save Money! – Who would think that eating out costs more money than prepping and cooking every night? There’s a reason that restaurants are so popular! It’s found that a family of four could save over $150 a week simply by choosing to eat dinners at home. Save going out for special occasions. Your pocketbook and kids will (eventually) thank you.
2) Get Kids Involved in the Cooking
This is fun for both parents and kids, and you don’t have to limit exposure to just the kitchen. Involving kids in the meal-planning, grocery shopping, food prep, and finally the cooking, will give them the confidence as they eventually move on.
My goal for my children is that they should be able to reliably cook seven meals before they head off into points unknown. This will lead to fewer meals at restaurants (leading to more money in the bank!), and, ideally, more healthy meals cooked at home.
If your children are more confident in their kitchens, they will eventually become more confident at the grocery stores, and maybe then farmers markets, and maybe then, even they’ll insist on growing their own foods in their own garden. All good roads.
3) Slow is Good
If you’re just getting started with cooking for health, you may need to change what you have in your kitchen…and I’m not just talking about the food! Consider adding an Instant Pot or slow cooker. This will not only make your prep time shorter, but you can have a delicious meal ready for your and your family when everyone arrives home. Here are some great slow cooker meals that you can use to get started:
- Crock Pot Pork Chops – Thank’s to Erin Clarke at Well Plated.
- Crock Pot Mac & Cheese – Thanks to Julie Evink at Julie’s Eats and Treats.
- Slow Cooker African-Inspired Peanut Stew – Thanks to Taylor Stinson at The Girl on Bloor.
- Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos – Thanks to Elizabeth Rider at ElizabethRider.com