How to Plan Family Dinners

Domestic CEO reveals the 4 easy tricks she uses to plan her own family dinners each week.

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #9

Tip#2: Make Your Shopping List

Use your meal plan to create your shopping list. Take a few minutes to do a quick inventory of your pantry and fridge, compare it to the ingredients you need for your meals, and write down anything that you need to create your week’s meals. After you have all those items listed, take note of anything you need for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks (if you eat those at home). When making your list, break the items down by category, preferably in the order you walk through the store. That way, when grocery shopping, you don’t waste time searching your list for items, walking back and forth across the store, or forgetting an item that you missed on your list.

Tip #3: Prep and Store Your Ingredients

If you are crunched for time on weeknights, chop and measure your ingredients on the weekends after you shop. Some people even like to cook all their meals over the weekend, and then freeze them to eat during the week. Do as much as you can when you have the extra time, and it might not seem so unrealistic to have a homemade meal on your crazy busy weeknights.

For your vegetables, purchase salad mixes or even veggies that can be steamed in their bags. These options cost slightly more, but if you are short on time, they are GREAT! Even if you don’t want to spend the extra money on these prepackaged foods, you can create the same convenience just by spending a little time dividing cut veggies into baggies and storing them in your fridge.

Tip #4: Involve the Family!

From planning and shopping to preparation and cleanup, the goal of family dinners is to spend time with each other. Creating the opportunities for your family to interact with each other will pay off in fun family moments and lasting memories. Even young children can help pick out recipes, prep veggies, and take part in cooking the meals.

I especially recommend getting your kids (or spouse!) involved if they are picky eaters. When a picky eater is able to have a part in the preparation, they are much more likely to give the finished product a try. So whether your picky eater is 5 or 75, ask them to get involved in the planning, preparation, and cooking, and you can help expand their taste buds.

Now that you have these tips, the rest is up to you. It can be scary, but as long as you don’t expect perfection, you won’t be disappointed. Anyone who has cooked for a while can tell you stories about the meals they completely bombed. But your mistakes will make you into a more confident chef—just ask Nutrition Diva! If you can commit to trying something new, I can guarantee you will spend much less money, improve your health, and have some fun tackling this new adventure in your home.

Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at DomesticCEO@quickanddirtytips.com or post it on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall or on my Twitter feed.

I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

 Family Dinner image from Shutterstock