Tips For Moms


"Ten Tips to Reclaiming Dinner"

1)      Have a policy of “We will eat together as a family.”  Wait until everyone is home to serve the "family dinner." Perhaps you will need to feed your children or child a mini-meal at 5:00 pm to hold them until later when everyone is home (after their sports and other activities).


2)      Make dinner an event. a)Consider serving a relatively nutritious dessert after dinner, like ice cream or berries and whipped cream. Offering dessert has social benefits because the children linger over the meal longer and look forward to the family gathering.  b) Light candles or serve dinner outside.


3)      Have a policy that no one is excused until  everyone finishes eating.  Good luck with this one!  I'm still working on it, but serving dessert does help keep every around even with the pressure of homework pending. 


4)      Find a convenient cooking partner.  Start by getting to know your neighbors.  Ask another mom if she has trouble making dinner.  Suggest that you swap meals on a trial basis.  If you work, trade meals via the office refrigerator with another co-worker and mom. Then make do-ahead recipes that can be popped in the oven after swapping them.  If you can't swap meals, try meal assembly businesses or bulk cooking and freezing or family cooking parties, but plan a solution.


5)   Pick out the recipes together from Supper Swapping.  Start with the the most kid-friendly recipes that you feel everyone in your family will enjoy. Picking out recipes keeps the cooking costs similar and everyone happy with the meals selected.


6)      Stock your pantry with the “5-Minute Back up Meals." There are five examples in Supper Swapping, so that if your cooking partner suddenly becomes ill on her day to cook, you are not left in a bind. (These types of meals are great for weekends when you are not swapping meals.) 


7)      Only swap the vegetable and the entree.  Supplement from your own pantry for starches, fruit and dessert.  You don't want to be cooking all day on your cooking day, so you'll want to keep it simple. "Less is more" when it comes to cooking and  transporting food.


8) Consider the suggested dietary guidelines in Supper Swapping.  This way, you and your friend will be eating nutritiously dense foods and your children will begin to associate healthful foods as being "comfort foods." 


9) Create a Low-Stress Cooking Day. Do your prep work either when the kids are in bed or when they are off to a scheduled play date.  Make cooking day fun. Whether it's on the weekend or weekday, set aside time for yourself to enjoy cooking.  Listen to a book on tape, watch a movie,  watch a food show or listen to music.  Make yourself healthful snacks while cooking.  With this approach you'll be entertaining yourself and doing the things that other people do who love to cook. 


10) Plan to take off cooking during holidays or during summer months.  You are going to need a break from the routine.  A couple of months before summer, you can begin making dishes to swap that are freezable, so that you can make one extra meal to freeze for summer.  I like to freeze Creole, Brisket, and many of the chicken dishes, like Chicken Artichoke and Chicken Cacciatore.