This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Thanks to HelloFresh for sponsoring this post. Sponsors allow me to keep sharing cool stuff with you 🙂
I remember the days before I had kids… sleeping in until noon, jetting off for a weekend at the drop of a hat, cooking a nice dinner ‘just because’ and enjoying it in silence. Gone are those days – now every trip out of the house requires a game plan, every morning is bright and early, and every dinner made is a chore with a *high energy* toddler on the loose. I think every mom can relate to dinnertime being a PITA – kids are hungry, they’re tired, and you’re feeling the same way. All aboard the #hotmessexpress!
REAL LIFE DISCLAIMER: I sometimes fail at dinner – fail hard. I make meals that my husband hates, or my kids refuse to eat, or don’t plan ahead and we eat something out of a box or a bag. It’s real. It happens. 99% of days, I don’t have the energy to make a full, fresh dinner from scratch with two young kids running around. But there are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to get dinner on the table quicker and easier:
Try a Meal Service
Sometimes our weeks are crazy: someone gets sick, one of us has a night meeting, or I don’t plan a meal for every night of the week. When HelloFresh asked if I wanted to try a box, I jumped at the chance. Taking the planning and thinking out of dinnertime? Yes, please! Use code LOVELYLUCKYLIFE35 for $35 off your first box!
Here’s a brief rundown of how it works: you choose your meals on their site, you pick your delivery day, they ship you everything in a special container (you don’t have to be home to receive it), and you’re all set to make those meals!
What I liked…
- They send EVERYTHING – except for kitchen basics like salt, pepper, sugar, butter, and olive oil – but my box included every other ingredient, including the milk, eggs, vegetables, and meat needed for each recipe.
- Each meal is created by a chef and nutritionist and includes a good mix of proteins and veggies.
- The recipe is included and you get to keep it. If you LOVE what you make, it’s easily repeatable.
- Everything is pre-measured. Less room for error, less mess.
Keep the Kitchen Interesting
I don’t want my kitchen overrun with toys but there are a few things I keep on hand that fit in with my kitchen decor that my kids can play with. Magnetic letters are a huge hit; I spray painted mine matte black to make them look a little prettier than the typical plastic rainbow. Only do this after your kids are old enough to stop putting everything in their mouths – spray paint chips are not a good appetizer ;). I also try to keep my centerpieces kid-friendly; this season, a little wooden tray with fresh gourds was Coop’s favorite kitchen toy/activity. Pull out the pots and pans and let them rock out. I always play music when I’m cooking – makes it easier to have an impromptu dance party.
Snack it Up
My kids *always* want something to snack on before dinner. In an attempt to avoid them spoiling their dinner, I give them a little snack platter with stuff I don’t mind them eating before the main event: blueberries, strawberries, apple bits, sliced banana, orange slices, red bell pepper slices, chunks of cheese, almonds, carrots and ranch, celery with peanut butter. All easy stuff that they can nibble.
Anything that makes it easier for you to get dinner on the table with a toddler running wild? Tell me in the comments!