Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun! Linda Lederman gives tips for how to get dinner on the table fast and easy, all while having fun! Watch Video by clicking the above photo or read the transcript below.

Transcript for Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!:

Kristina: Welcome impactful parent. Today we’re going to talk about how to make ordinary weeknight family dinners extraordinary, fun, and speedy. Today, I have a special guest Linda Lederman. Linda is the owner of Balaboosta’s Secret, where she teaches busy moms how to meal plan, prep, and cook with speed and fun.  I am excited to learn from her today. Thank you for being here.

Linda: Thanks for having me.

Kristina: Can you give us some hacks for how to get that dinner on the table quick?

Linda:  Well, in an ideal world, we’d all be meal planning which is generally unrealistic for everybody, but there’s a way to do it where you can still get food on the table fast.  My first recommendation is to know what you have on hand. Know what’s in your pantry. Know what’s in your refrigerator. Know what’s in your freezer. The next thing to do is know how to use it.

Another thing you can do is, put your spices together. If you’re making tacos every Tuesday, keep all your tacos spices in one spot. Then when you go to make your meal, you just take out the bin. You’re not going through your spice drawers frantically searching, asking, “Where did I put that garlic?” You can be organized. You can make spice rubs in advance.

You can learn how to do sheet pan cooking. Sheet pan cooking is where you put the food on a sheet pan with your vegetables, pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Your dinner is made.

You can do batch cooking, which means you cook more than what you need, so you can repurpose it for another meal. For instance, I wanted to make Asian meatballs, which sounds really exotic. Still, it probably takes 15 minutes from start to finish. Make Asian meatballs by baking them in the oven. Then put them on rice noodles with a peanut sauce.  The next night, crumple it up and put it in a lettuce leaf with some Hussin sauce and Buck joy. You’re not cooking the whole meal again.  You’ve just saved a tremendous amount of time because the kids aren’t complaining it’s leftovers because the food looks different, and it tastes different too. They have a whole new meal.

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

Kristina:  My kids hate leftovers.  Can you give a few more suggestions for making leftovers desirable and different than the night before?

Linda: Let’s say you’re making rice as your side dish one night. The secret to reusing rice is to make fried rice with the leftovers. So, if you make twice as much rice as you need one day 1, you’ll be able to make fried rice on day 2.  And let’s say you roasted chicken one night.  You can slice it up into small pieces and put it on fried rice.

Kristina: Many families also have picky eaters. Little kids that are super picky can bring mealtime down. Do you have any recommendations for picky eaters?

Linda: Yes, engage them in your grocery shopping. Tell them that you’re looking for purple foods today. Let them pick a purple vegetable! Then, let them see what their purple food tastes like. Engage them in the process.  Or you can go to a farmers market and say, “Let’s try something we’ve never tried before. Let’s ask the farmer how to make ____” Once children get engaged in the process, they’re more willing to try new foods. You encourage kids to try a new ethnic cuisine today! Let’s look at a map and pick a country! Then find food from that country that you think you can create.

Kristina: Anytime you can get kids involved, you’ll have better cooperation.  It empowers the children. I like to take my kids to the local farm and have them pick their veggies and fruits in the summer.  It is a great experience for everyone.

Now, let’s talk about dinner conversation.  Mealtime is a great opportunity to bond with your kids. Make it a rule that there are no screens at the table. Mealtime then allows you to talk to your children.  It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have anything to say. Mealtime allows your child to talk to you.

Linda: My first piece of advice is, do not ask, ‘How was your day? Did you learn anything in school?’ This is a buzz kill right off the bat. Kids don’t want to respond to that.

One of the things that I do is, there’s a silly holiday for absolutely every day of the year. If you know what might be that silly holiday for the day, you can make a conversation around it. One example of that is, April is National Poetry Month. I announced to my family, when you come to the table tonight, bring a poem. Well, the groaning in the morning was deafening.

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

So now the challenge was on. My daughter brought a poem that basically said, I hate poetry. My son made some kind of silly rap song, and my husband made even a sillier rap song. The night wasn’t even about the poetry. It was about starting a new conversation and having fun.

Another thing you could do is play a game.  Any card game or board game would work!

Another thing you can do is trivia cards.  You can also do mad libs at the table, which becomes really fun because kids of all ages can do something like that.

My family also does round-robin stories where you start a story. Then your child continues where you left off, and you go around the table till the story gets finished, or you want to start another.

You can also do current events. I ask my kids to read a newspaper once a week and bring an interesting article to the table.

Kristina: I love it. Anytime you can have a real, authentic conversation, you will also create a connection with your children.

Why are you so passionate about family dinner time?

Linda: It is really important to make the most of mealtime.  Studies show that families that eat together also have kids who do better in school, are less likely to get involved in drugs, and have better communication skills and social skills. It’s a win-win when you get to have a great time and make wonderful memories.

Kristina: If people love what they’re hearing, how can they learn more from you?

Linda: I can be found at balaboostassecret.com.  Plus, I have a freebie for your audience today! It is a free PDF. It’s a little bit about everything I’ve talked about tonight and some more. It’s called Quick Dinner Time Sanity Saving Tips.  You’ll find suggestions for what you should have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer in the PDF.  There are also quick tips on how to get dinner on the table fast. Lastly, there are a whole bunch of ideas of what you can talk about with your kids when you’re at the table.

Kristina: Perfect, Linda.  Thank you!  Audience, after you get your freebie, go to theimpactfulparent.com and get some more freebies from me!

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

Make Dinner Time Easy, Quick, and Fun!

Until next time, you got this.  I am just here to help.

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