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Navigating Busy Schedules: How to Get Nutritious Meals on the Table Without Hours in the Kitchen

Father feeding son on kitchen counter and mother in kitchen prepping food.

As the whirlwind of family routines returns, juggling the demands of work and children’s activities can leave little time or energy for enjoyable nutritious family meals. The familiar chaos of parenting can make this feel like a daunting task.

Next time you’re staring at your jam-packed calendar, wondering how you’re going to feed your loved ones, keep these 6 practical tips in mind:

  1. Plan meals. Even if all you can manage is to plan one day in advance, it’ll save you from that dreaded question “What’s for Dinner?”
  2. Make a list of 5 ‘go-to’, quick & easy, pantry staple meals. Post the list on your fridge for simple ideas on your most hectic days. Some of my favourites are bean burritos, tortellini with tomato sauce and cheese, and scrambled eggs & toast.
  3. Involve the whole family. From sharing meal ideas to washing produce, chopping veggies and clearing the table, it all helps.
  4. Choose quick cooking (or already cooked) proteins. Try canned beans, eggs, tofu, cheese, rotisserie chicken, frozen shrimp and nuts. We like curry chickpeas over instant rice with frozen green beans, and shirmp stir-fry with quick cooking noodles.
  5. Use shortcuts. Try pre-shredded cheese, jarred sauces, pre-cooked meat, instant rice, frozen veggies, etc.
  6. Cook once, eat twice! Batch cook and plan for leftovers.

“The familiar chaos of parenting can make this feel like a daunting task.”

Need more ideas to save you time in the kitchen? Check out this blog post from Real Life Nutrition – 8 Tips to Save You Time in the Kitchen.

If you’d like help creating a family meal plan and learning how to fit nutritious meals into your busy schedule, Real Life Nutrition’s ‘Family Meals Made Easy Program’ is made for you. Join one-on-one (Manitoba residents only; often covered by private insurance) or the group program coming later this month (open to anyone; lower cost than one-on-one).

This parenting thing is hard and Real Life Nutrition is here to help. Follow along @reallifenutrition.rd on Instagram or Facebook for your daily dose of simple family meal inspiration!

I’m Janine LaForte. A proud Winnipegger, a Registered Dietitian of 23 years and a busy mom of 3 teens. Through my business, Real Life Nutrition, I specialize in helping families get nutritious meals on the table without the stress or spending hours in the kitchen.

Here’s where to find me:

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