Some days we eat Pinterest worthy gourmet meals. But most nights it’s chicken nuggets or hot dogs. I’m not even sorry about it. It has a little to do with our busy lifestyle but a lot to do with the fact that it seems to be all my kids eat these days.
For a long time I held on to the fact that I wanted this beautifully balanced meal. One that was truly picture worthy. I’m sure there were times those pictures made it up on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. “Look at me, I’m a mom who can work all day, pick-up my kids, and cook at home like Martha Stewart!” Except those days were few and far between. I would be rushing home to hurry and make dinner while the kids were screaming that they were hungry as I threw some goldfish crackers at them (not literally, relax). After sweating because I almost burned something after running back and forth to stop Jack from doing something he shouldn’t for the 7th time, I would finally get dinner on the table only to get annoyed if no one ate the food or if leftovers went untouched for days. Leave it to my daughter to ask for chicken nuggets and yogurt instead of whatever fancy chicken was in front of her.
Maybe it was the infamous second child syndrome, or maybe it was just me finally caving in to being a tired, working mom. But, I drastically changed my shopping/cooking habits and I think everyone is happier for it.
- I’ve minimized meals to only picking about two for the week; this has been a lot easier to plan now that it’s summer and we don’t have to freeze while grilling.
- Those two more detailed meals usually consist of a meat (pork, chicken, steak) that can be easily marinated and grilled, paired with either a package of frozen vegetables and/or Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice.
- My dad introduced me to a great pork tenderloin marinade that I love! Place your pork in a zip-lock back approximately 1 hour or more prior to grilling along with brown sugar, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s amazing!
- Check out the pre-made section by the deli. Sometimes they have some great ready-to-go options like stuffed burgers, or skewered meats/vegetables that can be thrown on the grill.
- I grab a few frozen back up meals (insert gasp here): perogies, pizza, etc.
- Hot dogs, meat balls, yogurt, and chicken nuggets must be stocked at all times. I’m not sure what will happen if we run out of all these items at the same time but I don’t want to be there to find out.
- Fruit, fruit, fruit. My kids eat it like dessert. I actually have to hide the blueberries until after they finish their dinner or they won’t eat their dinner.
- When in doubt, make breakfast for dinner! It’s quite, easy, and a crowd pleaser!
As a self-proclaimed control freak, I’ve come to learn there are some things in life, I must let go. In finding some sort of balance in our crazy schedule, making the perfect meal was no longer high on the list of what truly mattered. Instead of stressing over a new recipe while trying to entertain the kids, or spending an hour preparing a meal only to have your child look at it with disgust, I gave in to basic meals. It afforded this working mom more quality time with her kids at the end of a long day and everyone was in an overall better mood about it.