Episode 150 4 Tips to Feed Your Family in Tough Seasons of Life

If you have ever had a season of life where fixing dinner seems overwhelming or all the little burdens are just too much then you are in the right place.

We all have times when life gets tough. Sometimes these are short seasons and sometimes they are longer, but these tips will help you when life gets a little overwhelming.

Tip 1- Do not expect too much of yourself.

  • You are not wonder woman and dinners do not have to be perfect.
  • It doesn’t have to be 100% homemade or nutritionally perfect.
  • Do you have “ideals” about what dinner should look like that need to be loosened during this season?
  • You are only one person and feeding your family can be an emotional burden.
  • When your bandwidth is narrow keep your expectations realistic. 
  • Feeding your family is enough and chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, or cereal count as dinner.

Tip 2- Do not expect too much of others.

  • This is tricky because you need others to help you.
  • Make sure your expectations of others is clear. If you want your husband to empty the dishwasher ask him rather than just expect him to do it.
  • If you want your kids to pitch in and help, give them clear tasks.
  • If you have teens, set alarms on their phones to remind them to do the tasks you requested them to perform.

Tip 3- Look for ways to simplify.

  • Where can you make life a little easier in this season?
  • What convenience foods can you buy?
  • Can you go to fewer grocery stores or use grocery pickup or delivery?
  • If you know you are going to face a busy season, do a deep dive shopping trip ahead of the season. 
  • Include extra “backup meals” in your grocery list. 

Tip 4- Give yourself more cooking breaks.

  • Episode 133 is all about how to get cooking breaks. 
  • Buy your family’s favorite frozen entrees. (Think lasagna or pot stickers.)
  • Plan for takeout. It is so much better if you put it on your plan and look forward to the break. 
  • Use the grocery store for takeout. It is less expensive and super easy.

Links from this episode:

Episode 75 The Emotional Burden of Feeding Your Family

Episode 99 Deep Dive Grocery Shopping

Episode 4 “A” Always Have a Backup

Episode 133 4 Ways to Get a Break in the Kitchen

Egg Roll Meatballs

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Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here.

Episode 111 Living in the Nooks and Crannies

This year is like no other and most of us have had to adapt and change. I count myself as lucky because my twins are in school full time and my high schoolers are in school part time. It is better for them to be in school, but it means that I have kids coming in and out of the house several times a day.

The constant interruptions mean I have fewer large blocks of time to work. I have to fit all of my home and work tasks into nooks and crannies in my day.

Are you experiencing the same thing?

When interruptions come and I have to readjust my plans for the day I feel like it is shuffling a deck of cards. Each card is a task that I want or need to accomplish and I am constantly moving the cards to fit in little spaces of the day. This takes a lot of brain space.

 

Here are three tips to help you when you don’t have large blocks of time to fix meals.

  • Meal Plan

I know I sound repetitive, but it really is important. Even if the plan changes (which it does at least once a week in my home) you have the plan to fall back on.

 

When life is extra busy and you spend fifteen minutes at the beginning of the week planning your meals you can look at your calendar and plan super simple meals on extra-busy days.

  • Adapt

You may have to change your meal plan during the week. Maybe you panned to cook something in the oven and you ran out of time. You can still quickly cook it in a skillet or in your instant pot.

 

Try to prep a meal earlier in the day. Get everything in your slow cooker liner and put it in the refrigerator so all you have to do is move it to the slow cooker base and turn it on. Maybe you can prep a roast in the morning and put it in the oven in the afternoon.

 

Most of your meals are made with the same “base” ingredients. For example- Chicken and pasta can be chicken parmesan, chicken piccata, or chicken noodle bowls. It only means changing a few ingredients to get different dishes. Adapt around the base ingredients.

  • Always have a backup

This is key to the Feed Your Family Tonight philosophy. You need to have 2-3 meals that you can get on the table in 20 minutes or less with ingredients you have in your house all the time.

 

Life is going to happen and if you have a backup you will be ready.

 

This also means use the food you have in your freezer. If you have made extra meals for your freezer, use them during this busy time. That is what they are there for. It is okay to eat them when life is busy.

 

For a full transcript of this podcast click here.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Episode 96 Back To School Dinnertime Tips

Back to school time is especially exciting this year after six months at home. We have had a six-month rest. Everything has had a slower pace and I know my family got used to this pace. Going back to school means adding stress. It may be good stress, but it is stress. That means our energy and our kids’ energy is going to be in short supply for a few weeks as we make the transition of back to school.

 

I encourage you to take your energy into consideration these next few weeks when planning dinner. Keep it as simple as you can. Try your best to serve familiar foods. Now is not the time to try and get your kids to expand their pallets.

 

Your kids will likely be extra-tired. You may want to consider moving up dinnertime so they can get to bed earlier. I am considering swapping after school snack and dinner. If I serve dinner right after school and my kids end up going to bed super early it is not a big deal. I know they will need the extra rest so their brains can manage all the transitions.

 

Be kind to yourself and schedule some breaks from cooking. This can come in many forms. You can serve hot dogs or frozen meal kits like Trader Joes Orange Chicken. You can use paper plates, or get take out. My mother is having us over once a week and that gives me a break from cooking. I predict there will be lots of families ordering pizza this weekend. That’s okay! Plan for it!

 

It is important as a parent to conserve your energy too. Rather than putting lots of effort into making elaborate meals, go simple so you can have the time to focus on your children. They need you during this time of transition and you want to be able to give them all the time they need as they go back to school this year.

 

Links from this episode.

P- Plan and Prep

S- Set a Dinnerbell

A- Always Have a Backup

Episode 95 – Back to School Lunches Even When School Looks Different

Full episode transcript can be found here.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.