Six Essential Tips for Meal Planning with Busy Kids

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
8 PHOTOS
Six Essential Tips for Meal Planning with Busy Kids
See Gallery
Six Essential Tips for Meal Planning with Busy Kids

My kids have busy schedules, and some nights the kitchen needs to stay open from 5 to 9 p.m. with meals, snacks and people coming and going. The following are some tips for meal planning that will allow you to better manage life with busy kids.

Image Credit: ABC Photo Archives

1. Use a slow cooker. Even if you've never used one before, start now. You can finish making dinner before noon and then have the night to yourself.

Image Credit: Carol Gering

2. Make meals best served at room temperature, so you are not cleaning pots when everyone else is sleeping.

Image Credit: Daniel Grizelj

3. Plan healthy snacks ahead. Leave cut up vegetables, cheese and breadsticks on the counter. This way, the kids aren't inhaling cookies or chips as they are running out the door for practice.

Image Credit: JGI/Jamie Grill

4. Leave one or two places set at the counter or table to minimize the mess. Treat yourself and use disposable plates and silverware. Even better, insist everyone cleans up after him or herself.

Image Credit: Cultura/Matelly

5. Decide which child you are going to eat with. Some of the many advantages of a family dinner can be had one on one as well. Plus, this way, you don't end picking all night long.

Image Credit: Digital Vision

6. Finally, take advantage of nights off from activities, whether a gift from the scheduling gods, a rainout or by your own design, and insist on everyone coming to the table together. Studies show children from families who sit down together benefit in many ways, including less participation in high-risk behavior and less incidence of obesity. If nothing else, it will remind you what it feels like to be a mom and dad instead of a short-order cook and a chauffeur.

Image Credit: Mark Bowden

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

I just received the fall soccer schedules for my three girls. Together, they have several practices per week, and I haven't even done the dance and gymnastics sign-ups.

Gone are the Happy Days of a family dinner.

Selfishly, even more than missing the opportunity to do some family bonding, I am already resenting my role as diner waitress in my own home. Some nights, the kitchen needs to stay open from 5 to 9 p.m. with meals, snacks and people coming and going.

This year, rather than don my Alice's uniform — I am going to be prepared. The following are some tips for meal planning that will allow you to better manage life with busy kids.

Check out the slideshow above to find out my six tips for meal planning with kids.

More From Kitchen Daily:
Beware of these ten foods that are child choking hazards
17 cereals that were too sweet to last
Discover these secrets to smarter meal planning

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Search Recipes