5 Secrets To Getting Dinner On The Table Every Night

If I’m being honest the closest TV mom I am is Kitty Forman. I’m not always going to have a home cooked meal on the table for dinner every night, I like margaritas, and sometimes I lose it.

It doesn’t matter how hard I try either, I will never be that type of mom with the always perfect home or the always on time healthy 5 course dinners.

I always start out with the best of intentions but if a day just goes to poop I know that dinner plans will be the first to suffer. A bad day just kills all of my motivation to finish it out strong. 

It’s even worse in the summer, especially since we don’t have central air conditioning. The last thing I want to do is stand in front of my hot electric stove for 30 minutes when I’m already hot just sitting in my house.

At the end of a long day sometimes I just want to sit on the sofa with my kid, watch a movie with him, and ignore the rest of the world. But, dinner still has to be served. So here’s how I guarantee dinner gets served every night.

A mom, dad, and son all sitting at the table eating a healthy dinner

Meal Plan

Firstly, I use a meal planning service called eMeals. It is super easy to use and absolutely worth the $5 a month.  

It’s as simple as picking the meals you want for the week. The app automatically compiles a shopping list and you can choose to go shopping yourself or have your groceries delivered. 

Meal planning actually saves me time because half the battle of choosing what to eat is already finished. Using the app keeps me on track with cooking just enough to feed us so we don’t have loads of food waste.

However, I only actually use the meal planning program for about 3-5 meals a week. Several times a week I cook based on favorites we love and things we are craving.

Right now, eMeals is has a 14 day FREE trial to get you started with quick and easy meal planning, grocery shopping, and pick up or delivery options. Click here to get eMeals FREE for 14 Days to try out several meal plan options including, quick and easy meals, vegan, budget friendly, and more.

Clean Up Well In Advance

One of the biggest obstacles to me actually feeling like cooking is having a clean kitchen. I need a clean kitchen in order to cook, but if my kitchen is messy from a day’s worth of dishes I’ll end cleaning and not cooking.

Once I’ve finished cleaning the kitchen spotless the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove messing it up again. It just all feels like a waste of time. So I clean my kitchen either after dinner or first thing in the morning every day. 

I’ve also convinced my family to make sure their dishes get put into the dishwasher as they are dirtied instead of on a counter or in the sink. A clean kitchen at dinner means I’m more likely to cook a good meal that night.

Have Easy Meal Options Available At All Times

I’m a quick or easy meal kind of person. I prefer dump and cook meals or less than 30 minute meals any day of the week. Unfortunately, a lot of these types of meals aren’t super healthy. 

Even if you are using fresh vegetables you have to spend a good 5 to 10 minutes slicing and dicing. That’s about all the time I have patience for in prep work for a meal.

This is why I plan for super easy meals or buy certain products already prepared and sliced. For instance, I buy pre cubed butternut squash because it’s perfect to go in curries or to bake and serve up as a side.

Be it easy pasta dinners, rice and spam, or an easy ramped up ramen, I have to have super easy to make meals in the house that I can whip up in less than 10 minutes of effort.

Cook For Leftovers

You remember earlier where I said I only use eMeals for 3-5 meals. These off meals are my planned leftover cooking days. I cook a large enough meal on these off days in order to make sure that I stock the fridge filled with leftovers.  

This works well for feeding my picky eater too. I make large portions of mac and cheese – his favorite – and have extra lunches and dinners for him for the week.

Leftovers are great for easy lunches and quick fend for yourself dinners. I typically just double the serving sizes on recipes so that I can guarantee plenty of leftovers. 

Right now, eMeals is has a 14 day FREE trial to get you started with quick and easy meal planning, grocery shopping, and pick up or delivery options. Click here to get eMeals FREE for 14 Days to try out several meal plan options including, quick and easy meals, vegan, budget friendly, and more.

Order Delivery 

Here’s the biggest secret of how I’m able to get dinner on the table every night. If I have a particularly busy day, a day where I just don’t want to cook, or I just have a craving that needs to be satisfied, I order take out.

I order food for delivery or take out as self care for myself and I don’t really care what that makes people think. I refuse to feel guilty for ordering and feeding my kid Wendy’s chicken nuggets from time to time. 

“Processed food,” or “it’s unhealthy,” can meet “my sanity,” and “it’s freaking delicious.” My family is fed and that’s what’s important. I don’t judge people who eat all whole food healthy diets and spend their time cooking, I’m not one of you. I don’t have that kind of motivation.

Ordering delivery saves me time in cleaning, time in cooking, and gives my family a treat a couple times a month. Ordering delivery is the easiest dinner I can serve and it’s worth it to save my sanity and time.

A mom, dad, and daughter, sharing a pizza in their living room

Dinner Plans

Sometimes I daydream about being a Bree Van DeKamp or June Cleaver with the always perfect home and the beautiful dinners. Truth be told though, I just don’t have it in me. I’m the laid back, order in, the dishes can wait type of mom. 

To be honest, I think a lot of moms can benefit from taking a break from being the “perfect” mom to allowing yourself time to relax and let the family fend for themselves for a night. You shouldn’t have to dedicate every single moment to serving your family, they should learn to take care of themselves too.

What are some of your favorite easy meals? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite motherhood boards.

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Crystal Lynn

Crystal is the founder & CEO of MommyThrives and also full-time mom to a very active little guy. She’s passionate about cooking, cleaning, and organizing and turns her experiences into actionable systems to make mom-life simpler. When she’s not busy, you can find her reading, painting, or even on occasion indulging herself shooting bandits in Borderlands on her PC.

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