Today we are talking about the summer juggle when it comes to family meals. I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I want to do is cook inside or out on the grill when its way too hot. If I happen to be out with the kids for activities or sports, its so easy, WAY to easy, to say “Let’s just hit the drive through and grab something on the way home.” Here are my three tips to help you not bust your budget or your waste line by helping you cook at home and keep those healthy family meals keep going all summer long.
1. Make a Plan: Its all about having a menu plan ~ its really that simple. Take a look at your schedule, see what everyone is doing, see how many people will be home and when, and then pick menu items that will match the personality of the evening. A great example is to pick one evening when you know everyone will be gone, schedule that evening to be your one meal out. Choose something like get sandwiches from a national chain sandwich maker with some great summer sales and customer loyalty programs where you’ll earn points towards free sandwiches at the end of the summer. On the flip side, consider another night when you are all home and go the distance to make a meal with plenty of leftovers that are easily taken on the go later on in the week.
2. Keep it Cool: I find my kids gobble down things that are light, fresh and cool. This is not the time to make your favorite lasagna, no two ways about that! But if I make something on the grill, meat and vegetables, pull together a salad and add some couscous and fresh fruit, those things go down in a blink as if they are vacuuming it up! So just keep your focus on food that is light, cool, and fresh and your kids will likely go for that just because their bodies aren’t craving the heaviness of comfort food that we all love in the colder months.
3. Mix it Up: Maybe everyone isn’t all that hungry. Why not have breakfast for dinner, have cereal, have smoothies and breads with a fruit salad. There are all sorts of ways to mix it up so it doesn’t seem you are eating the same thing over and over again. And again for me, we are in a very busy season with three athletes competing in the evening, that I have to not only make things that are wonderful but also very portable.
For extra credit, just remember, don’t overlook your crockpot! Even though you might not want a heavy hot meal, you can do all kinds of shredded or seasoned meats, think tacos with chicken, shredded pork sandwiches, and even barbecue all in the crockpot. This totally keeps you out of a hot kitchen at the busiest time of night. This also gives you something that you could also turn into sandwich on the go. So just keep an eye out for opportunities to use your crockpot. Its still the same ace in your back pocket that you depend on it to be in the fall, its just time to summarize what’s in there.
I hope these tips help you as you are dealing with the summer juggle and family meals and I’d love to know…
What are your best solutions when you are dealing with heat and busy kids
but you still have to make dinner five nights a week?
Okay technically its only five nights a week because for the other two nights maybe one is out and the other with your partner cooking on the grill. Its just a suggestion. I look forward to seeing you next time and as always, thanks so much for stopping by!
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