Hello! My name is Erin Collins, and I blog about gluten-free food over on the site Meaningful Eats. We just welcomed our sweet caboose baby to the family earlier this year – making us a family of six! Balancing the needs of four kids of different ages can be a lot to manage. Throw in the uncertainty of disrupted schedules and school activities, and it can make your head spin! Here are a few tips for making feeding your big family a little easier!
Everyone is hungry again?
With everyone home needing three meals a day, it’s easy to feel like all you do is cook and wash dishes. My husband jokes that the dishwasher is the MVP in our house these days! If you have kids at home, I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of just getting breakfast cleaned up, only to have kids asking for a snack or lunch moments later.
Give yourself (and your dishwasher!) a break!
Something we’ve been doing to break up the cooking/cleaning routine is to make two big meals instead of three, especially on the weekends. This usually ends up being a late breakfast/brunch and an early dinner. If my kids wake up early on the weekend, I’ll give them something simple like a yogurt or piece of fruit to hold them over until our big breakfast. Then in the mid-morning, we’ll make a hearty breakfast/brunch to keep everyone full for a few hours.
Ideas for Easy Brunch or Breakfast:
- Build your own breakfast sandwiches with Canyon Bakehouse Deli Style Bagels, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and a side of fruit
- Overnight French toast casserole made with Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White with a side of sausage and fruit
- A bagel brunch bar with Canyon Bakehouse Bagels (any kind!) and toppings like cream cheese, lunch meats, tomato, avocado, peanut butter, banana, fruit, etc.
Make 2 Meals Instead of 3!
After having a big morning meal, we can skip lunchtime and opt for an earlier dinner. This cuts down on the number of dishes we have to do in a day. If my kids are hungry before bed from eating an early dinner, sometimes we’ll make a simple snack like a big bowl of buttery, air-popped popcorn, or a smoothie before bed. Either way, it feels like a break to only make two meals in a day instead of three!
Since it’s not always the weekend where we
can make a nice brunch, it’s nice to have some easy lunch options for the kids on busy days. One of my favorite tricks is to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in advance and freeze them in individual bags. I can throw a frozen sandwich into my son’s lunch box, and by lunchtime, it’s defrosted and ready to eat. If I’m feeding kids at home, I can set out a few sandwiches after cleaning up breakfast and know lunch is ready and waiting without having to make another mess.
It is definitely a unique time when it comes to feeding your family.
I hope these tips are helpful for cutting down on dishes and meal prep, so you can spend more time with your family doing the things you love!