Have you ever had a child come home to tell you that she told the teacher that you would be happy to bake four dozen cookies for the holiday bake sale, and, oh yes, the cookies are due the next day? I have.
I’ve also experienced the joy of having to make three homemade angel costumes for the school play, getting the kids to nightly choir practice, and hosting a holiday party all in the same week.
For moms, the holidays can be extra busy, and despite all of the craziness, the kids still have to eat. Funny how that works. Eating out every night is not an option for us. It is far too expensive, and introduces too much junk food into my kids diets, especially now, when they will be overloaded with holiday goodies from other sources.
In order to stay sane, I have to stay organized and have a good plan for easy everyday meals that will feed my family. I have a real heart for this and hope these tips will help you provide for your family as well.
Keep Mealtime Sacred
Easier said that done, keeping the routine of mealtime is important. You may have to adjust the timing, eat more quickly than usual, meet for lunch instead of dinner, or cut back in some other areas, but eating together as much as possible during the season will help keep your family connected and ensure that the kids are eating well. It can also serve as a time to review the upcoming activities and celebrations that will be taking place.
Get a head start before the holidays by practicing some easy freezer cooking. When you prepare a meal, make an extra portion and freeze it. Doubling a recipe usually doesn’t involve much extra work, but gives you an additional meal to use on a busy night.
Already in the midst of the holiday chaos and only have an hour or two to spare? Cook up a batch of one item that freezes well, such as mashed potatoes or muffins (get a muffin short cut here), meatballs or mac and cheese, portion it out into servings and freeze. Every little bit helps.
I saved this tip for last, because it is my favorite and has been a lifesaver on many busy nights!
Make it easy on yourself by using prepared foods and quick-fix meals. These are great options when you need a complete meal but have extremely limited time and money. All you need to do is add water, and you are done. Each meal is a fraction of what it would cost prepared from scratch! I wish I knew about this option years ago. In a few minutes, I can add some crusty bread and a salad to Creamy Potato Soup, or serve a arm and hearty Vegetable Beef Stew at a moment’s notice, even if we are running late. Even when company drops in, it is not a problem. I work my magic and to everyone’s surprise, there is enough food to go around. What could be easier than that?