Have I mentioned I love to eat? It’s one of the things in this life that brings me joy, second to my wonderful beautiful children of course. I not only love eating but I enjoy cooking as well. On weekends. When the kids are quietly being occupied by their coloring or toys. What I don’t love? Being rushed to make meals quickly after a long day of work when being begged for snacks every 10 minutes by the same never-patient children of mine. Oh how tempting it is to just order in or pick something up on the way home!

I try my best to eat healthy and to feed my family nutritious and delicious food. Of course not every meal is a hit with everyone. My daughter would happily eat blueberries and black olives for every meal and my son, spaghetti. But I try to introduce them to a variety of foods and enforce the 3-bite rule. I refused to make a separate meal for them and always have because who on Earth has time for that?

A lot of my meal list has come from trial and error. My kids don’t generally love casseroles, but they love salmon and chicken and veggies and rice if they are all separate. I wrote out all of the meals I can think of that they like and then plan my weekly menu based on meals from that list. I try to limit how much pasta we eat to once a week, I try to incorporate as many veggies and lean proteins as I can during the week.

Time Time Time

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of my links, I may receive a commission or credit at no additional cost to you. For more info, please read my disclosure policy

Finding ways to save time for cooking is KEY to being able to cook 4 weeknights. Without these shortcuts and time saving measures I would be relying upon fast food more than I care to because some days its impossible to get it all done. And young kids bellies are not patient!

  1. Buy frozen or canned veggies-I don’t often have time to chop broccoli or cut and trim beans or rice cauliflower myself. Often times these items are on sale and you can buy mass quantities without risk of spoiling. My favorite time saver is cubed and frozen butternut squash that I use in squash and bean enchiladas.
  2. Using my crock pot or instant pot. I LOVE my cooking appliances. I plan for 1-2 crockpot meals a week if I am busy at work because I can come home and BAM dinner is ready. My instant pot is a thing of beauty. When I forget to put a meal in the crockpot it can be made in a fraction of the time in the instant pot. It is also a great way to make quick mashed potatoes, rice, veggies, hard boiled eggs. I use mine at least 3-4 times per week.
  3. I love cookbooks! I know that there is an endless supply of recipes online but I also keep a good handful of books on hand. I find that being able to pick up a book and bookmark my easy favorites saves on time by not having to remember or search for something I have seen online. My favorites include:
  4. I try to keep things simple when it comes to my lunches and snacks during the day. When I am working I am also in the car all day, which leaves my lunch options limited. Unless I stray from healthy eating to indulge in delicious potato cheese bites from the gas station (I’m looking at YOU Casey’s!). I leave the variety and excitement for dinner, but the rest of my day is usually the same.
    • I am intolerant to eggs and quinoa otherwise I’d be eating a lot of those. My breakfast is usually meat and veggies or a gluten-free breakfast burrito (Amy’s Tofu Scramble-mmm). I am not opposed to eating leftover dinner for breakfast so I have been known to that as well.
    • My lunch salads are mixed greens with loads of nuts and seeds and fried onions and cranberries with vinegar and oil. If we have leftover meat from dinner I will occasionally toss it into my salads for extra protein.
    • For snacks I carry trail mix, fruit, string cheese, carrot sticks with guac or hummus. I like apples and bananas as well as they are filling.

A lot of my parent-friends who work tell me how they struggle with eating healthy with activities and work and just life in the way. There are too many options for convenience that we rely on. It is possible to eat healthy and cook often, but it takes a bit of work and planning. Once you get a system going it becomes routine and much easier each day. So cheers to healthy living and happy eating!