Now that it’s summer, I’m sure we’ve all realized just how much everyone in our families eat, especially the children. There’s something about being home all day that seems to make kids want to eat ALL DAY.
As a stay-at-home-mom, some days I feel like I practically live in my kitchen! Due to that, I’ve had lots of time to figure out what helps me in my life as my family’s chef. Now, I can’t promise any of these tips will be life-changing for you, but I hope they can help you think about what will work for you so you can cross all food-related tasks off your to-do list quicker. So, read on to hear about my tips for making your kitchen a place of peace, not chaos.
Plan Your Meals
I know everyone always talks about meal planning in regard to dinner, but have you thought about your week ahead regarding lunches? Or even snacks? Having a plan makes a huge difference when it comes to food. I plan dinners weekly, but I also loosely plan lunches and breakfasts.
My kids usually have the same three options for breakfast and the same three options for lunch. Remember, there is no rule about making sure your kids eat three gourmet hot meals every day! I’ve even started planning and prepping lunches for myself. (It’s been a game-changer, for sure!) For snacks, I just make sure to have easy things on hand and prepped. I usually even limit food to designated times during the day to keep our food budget under control. If my kids can eat around the clock, they likely will, and then they definitely won’t eat much at mealtimes.
Have Good Kitchen Tools You Will Use
This tip has been the biggest sanity-saver for me. I don’t have all the popular kitchen gadgets, and I don’t want them. But the following tools are my must haves:
- Good knives. My set has just four knives, and I’ve had them for almost a decade. They make the biggest difference in my cooking life. I’m convinced that I wouldn’t even enjoy cooking if I didn’t have good, sharp knives.
- Kitchen shears. I have multiple pairs and use them for everything from trimming raw meat to halving PB&Js.
- Strawberry huller. We go through local strawberries by the gallon in the summer. I got this on a whim a couple of years ago and still use it frequently.
- Electric pressure cooker. I use this almost daily–sometimes multiple times a day. Sometimes I even use it as an electric skillet so I don’t have to use the stove and heat up my entire kitchen.
- Silicone freezer cubes. When you freezer cook as much as me, these are life-changing.
- Reliable cookbooks. I know some people prefer food blogs, but I’m old-fashioned. These are my most-used cookbooks and help me out of food ruts regularly.
Build Routines That Streamline Mealtimes
Having set routines and systems has been a true sanity-saver when it comes to feeding my family all day, every day. I pick up groceries once a week. Roughly every other week, I cook a whole chicken in my pressure cooker, then immediately make broth from the carcass.
I also freeze and cook marinara sauce about once a month, then use it for all kinds of meals, not just pasta. I often cook extra meals just for my freezer. When my spinach, bananas, or berries start to get sad, I stick them in the freezer for baking or smoothies later.
When I’m prepping veggies, I save the scraps in a freezer bag for broth-making later. I also have a few easy dinners I make every week like burrito bowls/nachos, sheet pan dinners, and breakfasts. Having a weekly food rhythm and systems in place make life so much easier for all of us.
I’m by no means an expert on food routines, but these are the things I’ve found that make my life easier. They might not work for you, and that’s okay, but you should figure out what does work, then do that. We all have different families and different schedules, so thankfully there are no rules about how to menu plan or what gadgets to buy.
I’ve given you some of my tips, and now I’d love to hear your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below!