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9 Tips for a Family Stress Free Dinner

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Most of us has hit our peak time of exhaustion by late afternoon. It's a roller coaster ride of craziness. You have so much to do in the a little bit of time. After work you have game practices, errands to run, car pools, extra-curricular activities and not to mention helping your child with homework. Cooking dinner seems like another daunting task added to your already busy life.
Recent research at Columbia University found that children who regularly had dinner with their families are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, and more likely to do better in school. In fact, studies show the best-adjusted children are those who eat with an adult at least five times a week, says Ann Von Berber, PhD, chair of the department of nutrition sciences at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Organize in the A.M.
Try to wash and chop your vegetables ahead of time and store them in a Ziploc® brand Bag with a dry paper towel to absorb the moisture.

Assign Dinner Duties
Make an after school chore chart where your kids know and can go straight to their after school tasks. Let them know that they are appreciated and the home couldn't manage without them doing their 'special" chore. It might not seem like much but setting the table is a big deal and it is certainly one less step to take.

Onions and garlic, oh my!
Onion or garlic sautéed with olive oil can add a delicious boost any dish. If you have a recipe that needs chopped garlic or onion try to pre chop or precook it. Place them in the freezer in a Ziploc® brand Freezer Bag for safe keeping until you need it.

Snack Time
Always try to give your kids a small healthy snack while you are cooking dinner. This will help to avoid you kids getting to fussy and irritated due to being hungry before dinner.

Hanging Out

It's always fun to hang out with your family and ask them how their day has gone while you are preparing the meal and this will run into dinner time. This is a good way to stay connected in our fast pace world. This will make you family feel closer and happier when you share about each other's day. Family mealtimes are a way to increase the time you spend talking with each other and most importantly being heard in a fast paced world.

Turn up the Tunes
You can turn on some good music while you are preparing the meal. This will start making memories with you children and everyone can enjoy the music. This also can let them know that the day is over with and it's okay to start to unwind.

Slow Cooker Needed
Don't let you slow cooker just sit in that cabinet! Slow cookers are awesome little cooking machines. Who doesn't like coming home to a cooked hot meal? All you have to do is wash up and plate your food. If you need slow cooker recipes. My book A Survivors Guide to Kicking Hypothyroidisms Booty: The Slow Cooker Way has over 101 easy slow cooker recipes.

Make Ahead Meals
Prep all your meals the week on Sunday. Place them in the freezer or fridge. Where all you have to do is grab the pre prepped ingredients when you come home and start cooking. This can save you 30 minutes of dinner prep time. Always use your judgment and follow food safety practices.

Make Extra-large Batches
You can always make extra-large batches of food to store and freeze to use for another meal. Left overs are also very tasty the next day. Some people don't care for leftover but I love them. You can always just try to change up your leftovers by using your imagination.

A.L. Childers is a writer, blogger and health journalist. She has created the website Thehypothyroidismchick.com. Where you can find great tips on everyday living with hypothyroidism. She has tried every diet out there -- twice. After pledging to give up yo-yo dieting and fad diets, she solemnly swore never to look back. She believes that everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy lifestyle. She has done the research and is giving you the blueprint to achieve your goals.
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