After a long day at work or at home with the kids getting dinner on the table can feel like a monumental task. Cooking dinner requires creativity and time, and by the end of the day your creativity can feel depleted and time is in short supply. Getting home from late soccer practice doesn’t leave much room for prepping, cooking, and eating dinner before bedtime.
And as much as our kids would love it, frozen pizza every night isn’t the best solution for the dinner dilemma. Here at Yumble, we want to do family meals better. To us, this means faster, easier, and healthier. Here we’ve compiled our favorite five quick and easy dinner ideas for busy moms.
Balance is the key to quick and easy dinners for working moms
Finding balance is so important – on our plates and in our lives. At dinnertime, we seek to provide our kids with a balance of vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy (or alternatives) on their plate.
But we also want balance for ourselves, and this means that it is okay if dinner isn’t always made from scratch. Making quick and easy meals as working moms means that sometimes we’re using pre-cooked chicken strips, microwavable rice, or steamable frozen broccoli.
Just check the labels first to make sure these pre-made items have the simplest – and shortest – list of ingredients. Broccoli should just be broccoli. If your kids won’t eat their greens without a dressing or sauce, do take the time to make that at home because it is almost guaranteed to have lower sodium and/or added sugars than anything from the grocery store.
One example of a ready-made, easy dinner for busy moms that you don’t have to worry about is our Mac and Trees. This wholesome and nutritious meal is packed with calcium and made from all natural cheeses and milk, and comes with an irresistible side of parmesan broccoli.
As busy moms, plan and prep easy dinners ahead of time
It’s official, #mealplanning is cool. Carving out the time during the weekend to plan dinners for the week, grocery shop, and prep can feel like a chore. But trust us, this is one of the best dinner ideas for busy moms. Plus, it doesn’t necessarily require as much time as you may think!
If you’re struggling to think of quick meal ideas for busy moms ahead of time, we’re a big fan of themed nights. Think Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Slow-cooker Wednesdays, Pasta Thursdays, Freewheeling Fridays, etc. Having a set meal schedule makes for stress-free family dinners, fewer decisions on your end, and the comfort of a routine for your kids.
This doesn’t mean making the same, easy dinners even as busy moms. Tacos can be refried beans one week and pulled chicken the next. Meal planning for us means a combination of tried-and-true family favorites and trying out a new recipe (or two) for quick and easy dinners for working moms and busy schedules.
To save time, consider having groceries delivered – or even the full meal! We have delicious and easy dinners busy moms and their families love, like our Taco Bowl and Pizza Pocket. If you are starting from scratch, for meal prep, we recommend spending the time on Sunday to wash, chop, and store all the veggies that you’ll need for the week and noting when/if any protein needs to be thawed ahead of time. This makes pulling together quick and easy dinners as working moms so much faster.
Embrace frozen or pre-cut veggies
Not into the idea of spending an hour washing and chopping? We don’t blame you. There is the general perception that frozen fruits and veggies are somehow inferior to their fresh siblings. However, they are in fact frozen at peak freshness, which is when they have their highest levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. It makes these types of veggies a great addition to any quick meal idea for busy moms.
Most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen without any additives (but check the label). And if you see ascorbic acid (vitamin C) on the label, that’s okay: it’s a commonly used preservative for frozen fruits and veggies.
Obviously, frozen won’t always work in dinner ideas for busy moms as a viable replacement for fresh, but they are a reliable and easy to store source of nutrition. For easy to use fresh veggies, consider pre-cut. Pre-cut veggies, like onions, zucchini, carrots, or peppers, are gaining in popularity and easier to find at the grocery store. Just beware, these pre-cut veggies tend to go bad quickly so plan on using them earlier in the week.
For a quick and easy dinner idea for working moms and busy parents that’s full of veggies but requires no cooking (or thawing) on your end, try our Chili Chili Bang Bang. This all-natural chili is chock full of fresh veggies and beans for a healthy dose of protein, fiber,and vitamins.
Keeping pantry staples on hand and storing food the right way help dinner ideas come together faster for busy moms
Storing your fruits and veggies properly can go a long way in ensuring you have all the ingredients you need for a quick and easy Friday dinner as a working mom and busy parent. There are a million tips and tricks online for keeping food fresh for longer. Some of our favorites include: storing onions away from the potatoes, wrapping celery in tin foil, storing chopped cucumber in water, and sticking a paper towel in with any lettuce or greens.
In addition to proper food storage, pantry staples are key to fast and easy dinners for busy moms. Having a stash of fast, healthy, go-to items for nights when meal planning just did not happen is an important step in avoiding take-out or cereal for dinner. If you have microwavable brown rice and broccoli in the freezer, low-sodium canned black beans and an onion in the pantry, and spices and olive oil in the cabinet, you’ve got a quick meal idea perfect for busy moms that’s ready to go in less than 20 minutes.
When in doubt, quick meal ideas can start and end with the slow cooker
Hands down, one of the most commonly mentioned kitchen items when talking about quick and easy dinners for working moms and busy parents is the slow cooker. Slow cookers, or the now popular Instant Pots, are an amazing tool in meal prepping.
There is an incredible wealth of recipes online for slow cooked dinner ideas for busy moms, most of which require little active cooking time. Just be mindful of the ingredients, and for healthy, easy dinners focus on recipes using lean-protein (like chicken, fish, lean cuts of meat, or beans), whole grains (rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta), and lots of vegetables (fresh, frozen, or low-sodium canned). The slow cooker can be used to make one-pot meals like Vegetarian Chili, or elements of a meal like Pulled Chicken Tacos.
At the end of the day, gathering around the table for dinner should be enjoyable and enjoyed. Use these tips and quick meal ideas for busy moms to find balance for you and your family as you move towards cooking faster, easier, and better (healthier) family dinners. Bon Appetit!
Looking for an easy way to feed your kids nutritious meals through spring and beyond? Yumble delivers fresh, delicious, fully prepared spring and other seasonal meals and snacks for kids right to your doorstep. Simply pick the plan that works best for your family, choose your weekly meals, and Yumble will take care of the rest! No cooking required!