Dinner time is often one of the most stressful times of the day for families. Everyone is returning from the hustle and bustle of their days, with empty bellies in tow ready to be filled.
In between the “I’m hungries” you try to whip up something that everyone will eat – or at least try. You’ve been in a mac and cheese mode for sometime, but are eager to move on. You just aren’t sure how.
Follow these nanny tips and you’ll be living out your own meal time miracles in no time.
• Plan your meals in advance. Each week plan out your meals and make one trip to the grocer.
• Have theme nights. Having a menu structure like Monday for Mexican, Tuesday for Pasta, and Wednesday for Grilling etc., will ensure lots of variety.
• Get everyone involved. Give each family member a night to choose what they want for dinner. Plan in advance.
• Don’t be a short order cook. You get what you get and you don’t get upset IS the dinner time motto to live by.
• Utilize a crock-pot. There are many awesome recipes that are quick, easy and tasty at http://southernfood.about.com/library/crock/blcpidx.htm.
• Everyone helps. From setting the table, to washing the dishes find a job for everyone.
• Cook in bulk. Soups and sauces are great to freeze and serve later. Lasagnas and casseroles are also great to freeze.
• Stock up. Always have kitchen staples, such as oil and flour on hand.
• Have breakfast for dinner. A warm and filling alternative, pancakes and eggs are quick, easy and satisfying.
• Check out places like the Supper Shop where you can go into a store front, prepare a meal and bring it home to cook for later. Easy and affordable a great alternative to eating out.
• Use pre made dough. Homemade pizza, calzones, croutons and chocolate croissants can all be easily made from pop and go dough.
• Dine out! Nothing like having someone cook and clean up after YOU!
• Have rules. No getting up until you are dismissed. You must try a bite of everything presented.
• Change it up. Sometimes it’s all in what you call it and how you present it. Call broccoli “green trees” and cut it up to look as such. When introducing new foods, offer them in a variety of shapes, textures and colors. Food coloring and food processors make this easy. A toddler may be intimated by a whole apple, but peeled, cored and cut up into manageable pieces, he’ll probably give it a go.
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About the Author: Michelle LaRowe is the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year and author of Nanny to the Rescue!, Nanny to the Rescue Again!, Working Mom’s 411: How to Manage Kids Career and Home and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity.
A career nanny specializing in caring for twins, Michelle has over a decade of professional childcare experience. Although she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a certificate in pastoral studies, she enjoys her work as a professional nanny, freelance writer and as a parenting consultant.
Michelle is an active member of the nanny community and has served on the board of directors and as vice president of the International Nanny Association. She currently serves as the association’s Executive Director.
Michelle is called on by the media as a parenting expert and has appeared on local, national and international television and radio and has been featured in print.
Michelle and her husband Jeff, reside on Cape Cod with their daughter Abigail.
To learn more about Michelle visit www.michellelarowe.com.