It’s no secret that we are all busy, overbooked, over scheduled and sometimes dinner is the last thing on our minds.  We all want to feed our kids delicious and healthy meals, but time is a problem, so many of us just decide that fast food is okay….just this once. But it’s never just this once, is it?

With a little organization and planning, homemade dinner can be an option no matter how crazy life is getting. Here are some tips:

1. Pre-plan your dinners according to the time you have. 

On a night that you only have 30 minutes between coming home from work then taking the kids to an activity, have a pre-made freezer meal defrosted and ready to warm up

When you have 45 minutes, make a stir fry.

When you have 10 minutes, warm up some soup from the big pot you made on grocery day. You can even pack it in a thermos and drink it in the car as you drive to your next activity.

2. When you grocery shop, do it on the day when you have the most time. 

First, you can make a weekly menu, and, from that, a grocery list. 

After you do your shopping, leave out the ingredients that you will pre-prep for your dinners.  If fajitas are on the menu for Tuesday night and you only have 30 minutes to make and eat dinner, pre-cut your onions, peppers and meat (don’t forget to preseason the meat too).  Keep your veggies in one container and your meat in another.  When you come home on Tuesday, all you have to do is sauté the ingredients and your prep time and cooking are done in 10 minutes. 

3. Pre-chop all vegetables for each meal ahead of time. 

If on Monday, you only have 15 minutes to eat, spend time the night before preparing your slow cooker meal. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, leave in the fridge overnight, turn on the slow cooker in the morning, and dinner will be hot and ready to eat when you come home. 

4. On grocery day, cook a meal double portion that you can freeze and warm up on a very busy day. 

5. On grocery day, make one big pot of soup and keep it in the fridge for the week. 

This way when there is only 5 minutes to prep and cook, you can pour a few ladles of soup in a thermos and take it with you in the car to your next destination.

Pre-planning does take a few extra hours out of one day, but you will get that time back during the week, on your busiest days, by having everything ready to go while providing delicious and homemade meals for your family.

Photo Credit: Amanda Gobatto of Digital Girl Consulting.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: By clicking the hyperlinked words within this post, as well as the photo above, you will be shown some of Sandra’s favourite (and easiest) recipes. If you want more meal options, purchase a copy of Sandra’s cookbook on Amazon by clicking here.