Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Return of the Busy Life

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
It's funny to me how cyclical busyness is in our lives. We either have nothing going on or we have a hundred and two things going on.

As we start to get back into the school routine, we are also getting back into soccer for two kids and baseball for one. That is one less sport than the spring/summer season, but still proves to be very busy. The good news is that by some coincidence, both kids have soccer practice at the same field, on the same day, at times that overlap by 45 minutes...meaning that although they will each get a bit of time to sit before or after their own practice, I get to have a much easier than normal schedule.

Of course, even though their practices are on the same night, we still have to get there pretty quick after I come home from work. This makes dinner a real challenge, but it is important to me that we get the chance to eat together as often as possible. I tend to take two approaches to dinner on these busy nights. Either I select a meal that I can prepare ahead so that I can get it on the table in a quick turn before we head off for soccer or I plan a meal that I can prep while they shower after practice.

One of my quick prep favorites is tacos. By cutting the vegetables and preparing the meat the night before, we can quickly warm the meat and eat before heading out. Another favorite is chicken Caesar salad. When I cook dinner the night before, I prepare a couple of extra chicken breasts, slice them up and have them ready to go, along with romaine lettuce, some shredded Parmesan, some dressing and croutons.

When we have to wait for dinner, it is important to me that the kids get an afternoon snack that I know will help hold them over through practice until dinner. This means that I look for snacks that have both carbs and protein - I have always heard that a sustaining snack has some protein along with carbohydrates to help fuel their energy needs. Some of our go to favorites are string cheese and crackers, or apples and peanut butter, or yogurt and granola.

Another item that the kids enjoy as a snack before we head out the door (or sometimes, as we do) is Hormel Rev Wraps. I like that they have a good amount of protein, but don't seem to be such a big snack as to spoil their dinner. The kids like that there are so many varieties to choose from, although experience says that Pepperoni Pizza is their favorite.

Then, dinner is usually some sort of a dish that requires a little bit of prep time - either on the stove or in the oven - that times up well with them getting their showers.

It can be a challenge, but sitting down as a family for dinner is important and we find ways to work around that.

What is your approach to dinner when your schedule is full?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product and some of the information for this post.