My guest blogger today is Crystal Maleski, who first contacted me on twitter by saying: “I have four kids heavily involved in sports – I so need to follow you!”
Crystal knows the busy life of sports parenting. She writes her own blog, Make Dinner Easy, and offers great ideas for parents who are trying to handle the proper care and feeding of athletes. I love her practical help!
Tips for making dinner easy for busy sports families
Dinner time occurs at the busiest time of the day, usually right in the middle of sports practice, homework, and car pool runs. As the mom of 4 kids, I’ve matched my determination to feed my family healthy food along with a few strategies, to solve the dinner dilemma.
1. Break The Rules
Dinner doesn’t have to be eaten between 5-6pm. We have found that an early dinner, right after school, works better on busy sports nights. Instead of eating a less than healthy afterschool snack I serve a pasta dish, tacos, or oven baked cheeseburger sliders with raw fruits and veggies. If they are hungry before leaving for practice, I often make smoothies which are quick to drink and easy to digest. Leftovers from our “afterschool dinner” are ready to eat after practice. Bottom line, eat when it makes sense and don’t be ruled by tradition.
2. Make a Plan & Plan Around Your Schedule
I’m an advocate for making a weekly meal plan. It saves time, saves money, and causes less aggravation if you know what you’re making for dinner and know you have all the necessary ingredients in the house. You may first want to take a look at your schedule for the upcoming week and determine which days you need to have a slow cooker meal, and what days you have time to cook. Entering your plan in your weekly calendar will also help you remember what is planned out. From there, make a grocery list based on the recipes you will be making and what you already have in the house.
3. Double Duty Dinners
Many recipes can be doubled and freeze well. Making dinner for tonight with a spare to freeze will save you time not only because you won’t have to cook one night in the future, but you also won’t have as many dishes to wash. You can also cook double the amount of meat one night and incorporate it into a different dish the next night.
4. Slow Cookers and Rice Cookers are great for Families who Eat at Different Times
I became a diehard slow cooker and rice cooker fan when my oldest son was in seventh grade and had a lot of afterschool games and meets. Our family would walk in the door and dinner was ready to be dished out. Slow Cookers can not only be used for cooking but also for keeping foods warm, many rice cookers also have a “keep warm” button that keeps food warm after the cooking cycle is finished.
Recipes to Consider:
Speedy Chili (http://www.makedinnereasy.com/speedy-chili.html) freezes well, can be served over pasta for extra carbs
Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches (http://www.makedinnereasy.com/slow-cooker-italian-beef-sandwiches.html)
Oven Baked Cheeseburger Sliders (http://www.makedinnereasy.com/cheese-burger.html)
Layered Lasagna Casserole (http://www.makedinnereasy.com/layered-lasagna-casserole.html)
Making a plan and using a few simple strategies can help you give your athletes healthy homemade food and give you evenings with less stress about what to make for dinner.
Crystal Maleski has 4 kids involved in many sports, she shares free weekly dinner plans and family friendly recipes at http://www.makedinnereasy.com.