Time Management for Dinner

Back in the day all you could hear all the neighborhood moms calling the children home for dinner. Today, families are so busy; going in so many directions that it’s almost unusual for everyone to sit down for dinner together in the evening.

When the family does arrive at home, there’s often little time to get food on the table so Mom reaches in the freezer or phones for pizza delivery. You can find time for a healthy dinner in the evening by applying time management to dinner management.

Start by giving every family member a job to do in preparation for dinner. Whether Mom or Dad actually cooks dinner, the other parent can spend time with the smallest child. Older children can set the table, pour drinks then clean up the plates and load the dishwasher after dinner. Teens can take a turn preparing dinner, even choosing what they would like to cook. If everyone pitches in, a healthy dinner can be on the table in an hour or less.

Choose quick-to-cook foods such as those shown in cookbooks for easy dinners or microwave prepared dinners. A stovetop grill is also useful for quick grilling. The idea of dinner at home is a little bit about food and a lot about spending time together.

The time you invest in talking with the children at dinnertime helps to cement the family bond. Dinner is not the time to multi-task; that means turn off all the cell phones, televisions and other distractions. Invest your time in talking with your family, not just eating in the same room.

If you plan ahead, you can cook double portions of dinner and freeze several items for a busier evening or to take to work for lunch. You might also cook a large roast or chicken that serves as the basis for several dinners in the same week.

Before putting away all the foods during cleanup, fix lunches for the next day. Package all the lunch items together in a simple recyclable paper sack or group all lunch items together so each person can quickly grab these items and pack them into a lunch box in the morning.

One of the reasons that office workers eat so much junk food or fast food is that they don’t take time to prepare a healthy lunch. Don’t wait until you are rushing around in the morning to make lunch, that’s when you’ll ignore it because you don’t have enough time.

A secondary advantage to finding time to prepare your own dinners is that you can save money on both lunches and dinners. You need to plan a shopping time weekly to get all the essential ingredients. If you don’t plan ahead and dash into a corner market every night, you’ll spend more money than by shopping once a week at a larger grocery store.

The time you spend preparing and eating dinner with your family or significant other, is time that you are talking and actually listening to each other. As you are enjoying dessert or after dinner coffee, it’s the ideal time to synchronize everyone’s schedules for the next day.

Who needs a ride? Who will be home for dinner tomorrow? Who needs help with homework tonight? What do we need to get done as a family to free time for a weekend trip? This takes possibly ten or fifteen minutes that saves so much time later by coordinating as a group.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

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