3 Tips for Getting Dinner Done

Dish of pasta and 3 Tips for Getting Dinner Done
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Getting dinner on the table night after night can be exhausting. It can also be challenging. Every evening the need for dinner rolls around again, and often, there are a variety of priorities pulling us in different directions at the very hour when it is time to cook dinner. This week I’m sharing 3 tips for getting dinner done.

  • The first tip is about how to plan your meals.
  • The second tip will help you do the shopping.
  • The third will make executing your daily meal plan easier.

I hope you find these these helpful!

* * * * *

What tips do you have for getting dinner on the table?

26 thoughts on “3 Tips for Getting Dinner Done”

  1. Super tips, Seana! I really want to make a joke here about how I could never have kids because you have to feed them at least three times. Every. Single. Day. But at least I’ve always had an “Eat First” shelf in my fridge (for leftovers, and other food that will spoil soon) and recommend it to clients. Never heard of a “Set Kit” for the table, but it makes total sense! I like your videos partly because you seem so natural talking to the camera.

    1. I currently have my adult children home with me and I have been reminded of how much work and intentionality dinner requires when you have a house full of people! Love the “Eat First” shelf idea – brilliant.

  2. Great dinner tips and agree that planning ahead of time here is truly key. I go grocery shopping every Friday evening after work so that I have that task done before the weekend happens and don’t have to worry about that task on the weekend. But thanks for sharing 🥰

    1. I love that you have a “built-in” slot in your schedule for the grocery shopping. Knowing that you will shop at that time removes a piece of weekly planning; you already have that one figured out!

  3. I love how in Tip #1, you offer alternates to cooking for how meals can be planned. This is excellent because some of us don’t like to or cannot cook every night. So adding in the options for takeout, dining out, along cooking and leftovers are excellent options. I am not a meal planner. We eat a lot of fresh food, which I keep stocked, and then can easily assemble meals. We don’t eat out that often, especially during this past year. We do takeout, but not as much as we used to. The pandemic changed a lot of our eating habits for the better.

    I’m less intentional but more intuitive about when I go grocery shopping. It’s based on when the berries are about to run out. We eat many berries, so when we are getting low, that’s an indicator for when it’s time to go to the market.

    I’ll rarely choose what dinner I’m going to have the night before. But, again, this is more of an intuitive process for me. We have lots of ingredients ready, and it’s easy to prepare dinner based on what’s happening that night, how we feel, and how hungry or not we are.

    1. I think the pressure of meal planning intensifies with more and more people. When it was mostly just me at home (pre-COVID), I could just eat what was around. I also love berries, so the need for them would take me to the store (along with bananas, which my husband loves, and which feel like a bit of a full-time job!). That said, now that I have four adults living and working here full-time, the meal planning need has stepped up. I need to have my game on, and it has reminded me of how challenging it can be to feed a family 3 meals a day!

  4. Love your videos!

    My husband and I check our calendars on Sunday to see what our week ahead looks like and I do meal planning based on what’s going on in our lives. Sports, religious school, work meetings/Zooms all around the dinner hour can impact what I plan to cook on a given day. I like how you call these the ‘time crunch hours.’ So true! I can often be found chopping peppers for fajitas in the morning or cooking ground turkey while I’m making an easy dinner. Advance prep is so helpful. And if I can get my kids to assist–even better. They have to learn it anyway!

    1. I think getting children to help when they are able is great. By the time they reach high school or are headed off to college, they are often too busy in the “after school” hours to learn to cook!

  5. Great tips! I can’t decide a week’s worth of meals. So, every few days, I decide on two dinner meals – the meal for that night and one for the next night. I usually have plenty of food and veggies in the fridge, so I can easily whip something together. I also have a few fixed theme dinner nights, Wednesday is leftover night, and Friday is take-out.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…15 Things to Toss for a Stress Free PantryMy Profile

    1. With planning 2 nights, and then having 2 fixed nights, you have the majority of the week covered! Clearly this is most challenging for families with many people and complicated schedules. It is all about finding a “groove” that fits your meal planning proclivities and your family’s needs!

  6. You are the video queen! These videos were so fun to watch.

    Planning meals can be so onerous, especially with kids at home, day in and day out. That’s why I like all the options you gave in the first video. It helps to lighten up the responsibility.

    I remember planning meals for my kids when they were young which was quite a chore. Each one of them had different food preferences. One only ate meat, another was a vegetarian, the third was super finically. It was a challenge. So dinners meant lots of prep.🍲 Also, lots of sides, to keep it healthy.

    We try different options every week and I know that works!
    Ronni Eisenberg recently posted…3 Very Simple Ways to File These Fresh & Delish Summer RecipesMy Profile

    1. I actually enjoy meal planning, and I had some picky eaters too! It always made meal prep a challenge! I’m always trying new recipes because it is fun now, when people will eat whatever I make. Sides (and bread) are always good because that way everyone can find something they like!

    1. I love alliteration as well! And I renamed “leftovers” night to “choosing” night, which makes it sound more appealing. Choose whatever you want from the various containers!

  7. The tips are great, but I’m obsessing over the pesto pasta photo. Mmmmm.

    I don’t cook, and I’ve never been able to comprehend knowing what you want to eat for dinner the night before. Almost any time I’ve planned to have a certain thing, by the time it comes to get something on a plate, I realize that’s not the flavor I want that night. 😉 (OK, I could probably eat take-out sushi nightly.) But I do love how your tips for planning, shopping, and cooking make the whole process so much easier. I absolutely love the idea of a Set Kit and think it would help kids and adults push past pre-meal procrastination and get the job done!
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Noteworthy Notebooks (Part 3): More Erasable & Reusable NotebooksMy Profile

    1. These tips are really most helpful for busy families. Now that I temporarily have my adult daughter and her husband living at home with me, and my husband no longer traveling for work, the need to focus on meal planning has reemerged in full force!

  8. My favorite tip is deciding what you’re having for dinner tomorrow the evening before. My biggest struggle is deciding what’s for dinner – even when I have a meal plan in place. Deciding the night before is a great idea. I do better if I know what I’m going to do ahead of time. I also love the suggestions for prepping ahead to make dinner prep swift and easy.

    1. It makes me feel like a rockstar to be able to easily throw together all the ingredients that have already been prepared! So much quicker and easier!

    1. I think like most things, getting the habit in place is what takes the most effort. Once you get into the routine, it becomes second nature.

  9. I like your categories of “how to get food” in tip one. I would add that everyone makes their own. it might be from leftovers or from scratch. This lets everyone practice cooking for 1 before they start being responsible for cooking part or the entire meal for everyone.

    1. I love this idea, Julie. I bet kids would love getting to make whatever they wanted! (Not sure my husband would particularly enjoy that one, though…)

  10. I’m doing some of these things but I can see there is room for improvement. I think it’s especially important to make a list for the week and have the shopping list ready so you will be sure to have all the ingredients you need to carry through. I’m not good about setting up for breakfast the night before but I think it’s a good idea. Very good suggestions.

  11. First of all, I love the video tips! That is so fun to hear and see you. Second of all, I really appreciate the tip about prepping ingredients ahead of time when you can. As someone who worked in the restaurant industry, that was the key to a fast cooking process. It’s something that I do in my own kitchen and it saves my sanity on days that I work and only have 30 minutes to pull a meal together. I’m also a big fan of double batching and freezing for nights when I’m extra “over” cooking. Great post!

    1. Double batching is a terrific tip, as it cooking on the weekends if weekdays are crazy. My daughter preps a meal or two over the weekend and then eats them all week long.

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