Dinner hacks… those time-saving tricks can make all the difference when you are trying to get dinner on the table.
If you’re a mom, chances are you spend your days juggling kids and work like nobody’s business.
Nobody told me that life would be this way when I first became a mom years ago! But now that I’ve been there, done that – I’m here to share some tried and tested dinner hacks for busy moms who want to make the most of their time in the kitchen.
- Make a double batch of your favorite soup and freeze the second for future dinners, either in one big box for a smiley serving or individual serving for quick and easy lunches.
- Chop up vegetables and store them in airtight containers to have on hand when you need them.
- Cut up fruit like apples, pears, or oranges ahead of time to serve as healthy snacks or side dishes. These can also be used for quick Muffin Tin Lunches (kids LOVE these), check them out here.
- Enlist your kids into kitchen duties, get the setting the table, loading/unloading the dishwasher/washing and or preparing veg for dinner. If you need help delgating these types of tasks out, I have some free training here.
- Buy pre-cut vegetables at the grocery store so they’re ready to go straight into dinner. This is not the most cost effective way of doing things, but if you know you have a super busy week ahead it is worth weighing up the cost of a quick healthy meal vs junk.
- Use an oven-safe glass container with a lid that can be used in both the microwave and oven for different types of meals. I love these IKEA containers, they can be used in the freezer too, I prefer the bamboo lids but have found the glass ones last better.
- Cook rice (or another grain) in advance and freeze it until needed. As my guys both take bentos to work/school I make a batch of rice then freeze it in portions that they can just pick up from the freezer and take with them.
- Make a list of your family’s favorite meals, use this in conjunction with your meal planner (grab the free one below) to make weekly meal planning super quick and easy.
- Plan ahead and batch cook on the weekends to make life easier during the week. I must admit I’m not a fan of this version but I work from home, if I worked out of the home then I would do more of this. I have clients who spend 3 hours at the weekend then all their meals for the week are done, just need heating on the day.
- Cook in bulk when you can – it saves time and money! Like #8 but not so hardcore. I often double up a recipe, one for tonight and one for the freezer!
- Freeze extra portions of food for later use e.g., soups, casseroles, lasagna sheets etc… If you have cooked for 6 but only 5 portions were eaten, pop the spare in the freezer, remember to label it! Works well for when you need to rustle up a single meal for some reason.
- Use leftovers creatively – try turning them into a soup or salad for lunch the next day. This is one of my favourite things to do, in fact I intentionally cook too much so I can make something the next day. Spaghetti omlette is a family favourite. Chili one day, tacos the next…
- Use your slow cooker or instant pot. I’m a huge instant pot fan, I use it several times of week, I love that I can just throw everything in, press the button and walk away. More on my love of the humble instant pot here…
- Teach your kids to cook, valuable life skills for them and you will marvel when your kids prepare a whole meal by themselves leaving you to put your feet up and sip on a cocktail… or something like that! I can attest that having someone else take over cooking dinner once or twice a week was well worth all the messy kitchen days as he was learning. Start small with a snack station and then build up to a meal.
- Bake chicken breasts instead of frying them because they are healthier and easier to make. You don’t need to watch them quite as keenly when you bake them, which frees up your time to tackle something else.
- Freeze homemade pizza dough to save time later when you’re craving pizza but don’t have any premade dough ready – same goes for pastry.
- Keep frozen vegetables on hand for quick meals – you can also buy fresh produce and freeze it yourself. Veg is VERY seasonal here so I often freeze things so that I have a bit more variety than daikon, cabbage and leek during the winter months.
- Boil eggs ahead of time so they’re ready whenever you need them.
- Buy canned beans instead of dried beans; cooking times are often shorter than if you were using dried beans too because they already come pre-cooked from the canning process.
You might not think that cooking a healthy dinner when you’re a busy mom is possible, but I’m here to tell you it’s totally doable. And if you cook with these tried and tested tips, your family will love what comes out of the kitchen!