6 Ways to Be a Happier Family Cook
How do you stay motivated to cook for your family? Perhaps a better question, how do you stay happy doing it? In my many years of working with families, and my own experiences as a mother, cooking is often a topic of frustration for moms. Just the other day, a friend of mine said over lunch, “I am so sick of rotating through the same 12 dinner meals! I really need a new plan.”
I can relate.
Here are some suggestions to help you formulate a new and happier approach to what may be a dreaded daily event:
Make a Plan: Hands down, this is the most effective way to reduce the stress and frustration associated with making dinner. Here’s how you do it: pick a day of the week (I do it on Sunday) where you map out your meals for the week. Take into consideration those days where you may be busier and target simple meals on those days. Make a grocery list of the items you will need to execute your meal plan and pick a day to shop. Most importantly, stick with your plan as closely as possible!
Have a ‘Plan B’: Sometimes our well thought plans don’t, or won’t, work— a last minute meeting or a hubby that stays late at work or a sick child—and you need to have a backup plan. Keep extra pasta and jarred sauce, frozen veggies and quick cooking rice, or canned beans, tortillas and cheese on hand for these unexpected changes to the dinner plan.
Use a Menu Theme: Meatless Mondays, Tuesday Fish, Wednesday Pasta, Thursday leftovers or new recipes, and Friday Dinner Bar are examples of themes to help you plan out the nutrition components and meals for the week. Meal themes can provide an outline for streamlining your meal planning.
Keep it Quick on Busy Days: Employ some of my favorite cooking tools which can make your life easier– a Crock pot, pressure cooker, potable grill, Panini press, or microwave–they speed up dinner preparation in a pinch.
Make Meals a Family Affair: There’s nothing that wears down a cook more than doing it all, all the time! Get everyone to join in this family affair, taking part in meal execution, from setting the table, making the salad, and pouring the drinks to clearing the table and loading the dishwasher (or doing by hand).
Take a Day Off! Every cook needs a break—make sure to schedule breaks here and there to help you stay inspired. Dinner out with the hubby or a YOYO night can go a long way to keeping the principal cook in the family a happier one.
How do you stay happy when cooking for your family?