Five Tips: Making After-School Dinners Easier

Eat healthy, stay on budget, strive to thrive

back to school

With school starting super soon (if it hasn't already), we’d be remiss if we told you we weren’t in full BTS mode here at Mom Made's HQ. So to help keep our cool – and keep our family life on track – we created a few tips and tricks for getting a healthy meal on the table that won’t break the bank, and – depending on where you live – have almost everything on your shopping list delivered right to your door. Instead of waiting in line at the store, hanging out at red lights or piling all the kids in the car, you can relax, grab a glass of wine and spend some quality time with the kiddos before homework quickly eclipses these warm summer nights.

Tip 1 – Make your list ahead of time

Know exactly what you need before you head to the store. Pen and paper seem to be our tried and true method of note taking, but list making apps are super great too! Shelf Scouter and Any List are two of our favorites.

Tip 2 – Use online coupons!

Apps like Shrink are designed to hold your favorite product coupons in your phone, and reward you when you buy – no clipping required! There’s also some Mom Made coupons in the Shrink app (hint, hint).

Tip 3 – Meal plan

Take 30 minutes at some point during the week(end) and plan out what you’ll have for dinner that week. Our founder, Heather, swears by a meal planning weekly subscription with The Six O'Clock Scramble. Whether you create a spreadsheet with ingredients, recipes and the like, Pinterest boards of awesome crockpot dishes, or let the Scramble's service do it for you, you’ll breathe easier knowing that you have a few ideas when the week starts and the family inevitably asks “what’s for dinner?” or schedules have to be moved around because a soccer game is the same time as ballet rehearsal!

Tip 4 – Order online

Take advantage of online shopping to get your groceries delivered right to your door! Instacart and Amazon Pantry offer door to door service without getting off the couch. Fresh veggies, fruits, meats, pastas, sauces, and more are all available – often at the same price as your regular store. You’ll have more time to spend with the family, and no one tugging on you at the checkout line for those pesky M&Ms that just happen to be at eye level.

Tip 5 – Get the kiddos involved

Every chef needs a sous chef right? Let the little ones belly up to the kitchen counter and teach them the finer art of slicing and dicing veggies, rolling out dough, measuring flour and layering up lasagna. Classic dishes like meatloaf will really get their hands dirty (be sure to wash hands afterwards!) and baking cookies will make even the sourest of homework frowns turn upside down. Since older kids can handle some chores they can help with cleanup and setting the kitchen table. Give mini chefs a different job each night, so they get the full range of what it really means to be on Chopped Junior! Eat healthy, stay on budget, strive to thrive.