Family Dinner around a table

How to Make Family Meal Time Achievable

Hello, my name is Charity D’Amato-Crawford and I am a business owner, a designer, a regional influencer but my most important role is wife and mom to my family.

As a working mom, cooking healthy meals is a choice that I make each week. Growing up, my mom stayed at home when we were younger, she made awesome dinners for our family from cookbooks like Southern Living and Cooking Light. As a busy family, involved in many after-school activities, our family crew always made dinnertime a priority and even when we were a bit older and she went back to work, my mom showed us that it was achievable.

Flash forward 20 years and it is my turn to balance the workday and the family mealtime dilemma..and it IS often a dilemma. What to cook? How to find time to get it done? What can I make to ensure weeknight dinner go smoothly? I battle these questions every week…but have put together my thoughts and tips on how I make family mealtime achievable, I hope you find them helpful.

 

 

Grocery delivery, my new best friend!

I don’t know bout you, but there is nothing I enjoy less than the weekly shopping trip to pick up the mundane gallons of milk, the granola bars, and cheese sticks. While I do LOVE to pick out my own produce, the easy outweighs the creative art of selecting the perfect produce at this phase of my life. I am a huge fan of having your groceries delivered, at the least having those items that you purchase every week delivered and then allowing yourself a special, shorter trip mid-week to buy a few, fun, seasonal products.

Over the last few months, I have really enjoyed looking at recipes on Pinterest and even flipping through some of my older cookbooks. I look at new and interesting Whole 30 and Keto-friendly recipes and then I turn to my handy delivery app to order the unique ingredients and the weekly repeat items. In our house, groceries are ordered on Saturday morning for delivery Sunday morning, making prepping for the week ahead more achievable.

No more trips to the grocery store with my 4 year old begging me for sugar cereal and negotiating for everything candy. Have the control to place my grocery order for the comfort of my home is worth every penny.

Make prep a priority!

When the groceries arrive, I clean and prep all of the produce so that when it comes to actually wanting to enjoy the strawberries on Monday morning they will be cleaned and ready to go.  Here are a few things I do to prep for making our healthy lunches and dinners achievable.

  1. I bag up little bags of cut carrots, celery and sugar snap peas for weekday lunch snacks.Hard Boiled Eggs
  2. I always make a dozen hard-boiled eggs for our breakfast commutes, peel them and also individually bag them up. When I grab them from the fridge I shake a bit of pepper and spices in the bag making it a special breakfast treat.
  3. My family loves it when I make homemade protein balls. These are mostly made up of dates, raisins, almonds, cashews and lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. You can find all sorts of recipe variations of these online. Such a fun treat and also a filling, healthy breakfast.
  4. Every Sunday afternoon I literally bake two large containers of chicken tenders covered in a handful of spices for the week ahead. Once baked, I will cut them up for lunch salads or leave them whole for dipping in tomato sauce for a very, kid-friendly
    weeknight dinner.
  5. Soup in Plastic ContainersI make soup. It might not be fancy, but I use any remaining vegetables from the week before to whip up a mostly-veggie soup. We typically enjoy the soup for dinner one evening and then take it in our lunches at some point during the week.
  6. My last tip is bagging up any fruits that also might be “fading.” Throw them in individual baggies and put them in the freezer. Pull one of these out any given weekday morning, and add your choice of milk (almond milk is my jam) and blend!

So, while it might take a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to prep and prepare these basic items, it really helps make the week ahead go smoother in my household.

Charity D'Amato
Posted by: Charity D'Amato
Charity is the founder of studio Chartreuse; chartreuseinc.com a design firm located in Lakewood, Ohio. She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Design and Art Education. Charity is a Cleveland Bridge Builders graduate and the recipient of the 2010 Inside Business Athena Young Professional Award. Since 2007, Charity has also been the voice behind the regional lifestyle blog, iheartcleveland.com. Charity and her family recently made the move across the river from Westlake to Shaker Heights, Ohio. “I really adore that I get to come to work every day and be creative. This is my passion and my reality.”

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