As our boys have gotten older, they’re 16, 17 and 20, I’ve noticed the most tangible act of love and care I can provide is through cooking meals and feeding them.
Not only that, but all the women I admire, prioritize meals and feeding people.
Notice I didn’t say all the women I admire are great cooks, never eat out, love cooking and never eat in front of the TV.
They simply realize the importance of gathering everyone around the table and making sure there’s something to eat.
Plus, no matter what kind of day I have, or what I feel like I have or haven’t accomplished, if I get dinner on the table for my family, I feel like a million bucks.
The opposite is true as well–I could have the most productive, or creative or amazing day, but if 5 o’clock rolls around and I have nothing planned, I suddenly feel like a frantic lunatic who can’t think ahead and it puts a damper on my day. My family can always deal with it, but internally, the state of my emotions reflects the state of my dinner plans.
I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get dinner on the table, or on the TV tray if needed. But there will be dinner, that I can promise.
Over the years I’ve learned how to prioritize dinner without becoming a part-time meal planner.
Here are a few tricks that have worked for me:
1. Start with planning to cook just three meals per week. Yep. I have a plan for the other nights too, but they revolve around rotisserie chicken, leftovers, everyone-on-their-own night, eating while we are out doing other things…the list goes on.
2. Have a regular, weekly no-brainer night or two. We know the names of all our Domino’s delivery guys–it’s the only pizza place in town and we order every single Friday by 5pm. Taco Tuesday is a great lifesaver too.
3. Let yourself take shortcuts, meal swaps, online grocery ordering and for the past few years, I’ve used a meal delivery service to reset my cooking for the first few months of the year.
In November and December I’m all into cooking comfort foods and holiday meals and suddenly, come January, I’m over it. I have no ideas, I can’t remember anything my family likes besides hot chocolate and waffles and, I’m usually a little preoccupied with my work goals. Last January I started writing a book, this year, I’m creating some online classes.
But the show must go on. Everyone is still hungry every night. The nerve.
I’m a huge, HUGE fan of Blue Apron and guys, I used to think that people either had to use a service like Blue Apron four nights a week, 52 weeks a year, or not at all. Nope. You can work the system so it serves you.
Last year I had meals kits delivered the entire time I worked on my book–January-May (3 meals a week), and then I was ready to do all my own planning for the rest of the year. This year, I’m getting meals delivered again for a while, probably just the next month or so, just so I can reset and get back into the cooking groove.
As a working mom, it’s something I’m willing to pay for because as I’ve already admitted, the feeling I get from having meals planned is basically priceless, and what happens when I don’t plan a meal? We end up at the Mexican restaurant down the street with a bill higher than the price of a Blue Apron meal.
If you haven’t tried Blue Apron, you’re in luck, the first 25 people to try it through my link will get 3 free meals.
My favorite things about using Blue Apron
- There’s no commitment – you can skip a week or cancel the service at any time (you’re the boss)
- There are 8 recipes to choose from each week and you get to pick the meals your family would like–I always let my boys look through and pick what they want.
- Blue Apron delivers all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions, you barely have to measure
- Step by step recipe sheets with photos-the boys take turns helping me prepare dinner every night and this makes it so easy–and I keep the ones we really liked so I can make them again on my own
*this post is sponsored by Blue Apron