Let’s be real. Planning and cooking for your family is a pretty big undertaking. It can quickly feel like a huge burden, especially if you’re trying to cook healthy meals and save money by not eating out a lot.
Therefore, I think it’s super important to schedule in breaks from cooking so the main cook of the house doesn’t get too irritated with it all. “But we’re trying to save money – we can’t eat out that regularly!” I hear you saying. Yeah me either! Plus I feel like eating out a lot is super unhealthy and instills bad habits in the kids.
So…my breaks look like this:
Popcorn and Apple Night.
Ok this isn’t super healthy, but one night a month, I think it’s ok. I’ll pick a Friday night, we’ll pop in a movie and eat popcorn and apple slices on the couch. We love this because it feels like an event, and we all look forward to it. Who doesn’t love movie night?! Mom especially loves it because I DON’T HAVE TO COOK!
Frozen Ravioli Night
This one is great for busy nights. Frozen ravioli takes minutes to cook. Pair it with olive oil or your favorite jarred sauce and it’s dinner. I usually throw some boxed or bagged salad with it to add nutrition. I feel like I can get away with this one twice a month.
Ok Taco night is NOT a break from cooking because my hubby likes a million toppings, and I like to make my own taco seasoning (because who knows what’s in those packets). The break comes the NEXT NIGHT. When we have…
On taco night I make lots of meat and grate lots of cheese and have extra lettuce, tomatoes, rice and avocado on hand. Then the NEXT night everyone basically makes dinner themselves. I set out all the aforementioned ingredients. Everyone grabs a bowl and puts in a handful of Nacho Cheese Doritos (I know, not healthy, but this is real remember?) followed by a scoop of meat (microwaved or not), lettuce, and whatever other fixings they want (yes, lettuce is mandatory. Healthy, remember?).
Then voila – eat with a spoon. The family goes CRAZY for this stuff. And again, I love it because NO COOKING! This happens at least twice a month.
So just with these ideas alone, I’ve saved myself 5 nights out of the month of real cooking – that’s almost a whole week! Then there’s also frozen pizza night, date nights for mom and dad (blue box for the kids!), and maybe the occasional family dinner out or takeout. And we’re not breaking the bank and we’re eating *mainly* healthy. The rest of the month I am pretty much cooking with whole foods and lots of veggies and proteins.
Scheduling these breaks is awesome because it means I am actually HAPPY about cooking the rest of the month. I know that the task of cooking isn’t something that happens Every. Single. Night. (Yuck!) because I know there’s a break around the corner. So usually, I have a pretty good attitude about feeding my family.
So go ahead, give yourself a break. You can afford it and your family will love it!
Emma’s spinning plates include momming, wifing, substitute teaching and running her small business with Trades of Hope. When she isn’t busy with that, she can be found bullet journaling, organizing, knitting, baking, traveling, reading, dating her husband and hanging out with friends and family, all while listening to music. She is British, an ongoing survivor of bipolar disorder and an avid Belieber.