Gathering as a Family for Mealtimes

Gathering as a Family for Mealtimes

Monday #Momday: Remember our new identity statement that showed up a couple weeks ago?

[bctt tweet=”The SMART Christian single Mom is a Godly, intentional, single mother wisely and carefully using the resources of time and money God has given her to manage the needs of her house and home well.” username=”songdovemd”]

Mealtimes are one of the major ways you can live this out every single day. Believe it or not, gathering the family for mealtimes whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, is huge on the time-saving and money-saving goal chart!

First, cooking or preparing one type of meal saves time making and then cleaning up from meal prep in the kitchen. If you’re all having cereal for breakfast, setting out the bowls and spoons, the box of cereal, the milk, and a real (not artificial) sweetener, takes are less time than one person making toast and eggs, another having cereal, another cooking up oatmeal while a fourth makes themselves pancakes. The length of time required to clean up from those disparate meal preparations is quite a bit longer than just cleaning up from the making of just one of those meals done up for four people.

Second, when a person cooks for just themselves, there is a tendency to make more than necessary. This wastes money. Every mealtime, you as the mother need to be paying attention to the portion sizes everyone around the table eats at an average, respectable meal. Then you adjust the portions you prep in the kitchen to match what is typically eaten at the table. You don’t want to make more than what will be eaten, and if you do, you want to ensure those leftovers are put in the fridge to be eaten within a few days as part of another meal. This way, the accidental over-prepping isn’t thrown in the garbage. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s watching my money go into the trashcan! If that food came from the food bank, someone else paid for it and you don’t want to see their money go into the trashcan either.

One way to use leftovers is to pack them in your kids’ lunches for school. Many classrooms have microwaves or toaster ovens and many cafeterias do too. Why buy school food when you can send your own? I guarantee you saving money doing this and your kids will eat healthier because you are monitoring what goes into their lunchboxes.

Another way to use leftovers is in soups, casseroles, or frozen for use when its just you at home that day and you need a meal-sized portion to throw into the toaster oven to thaw out and eat.

Third, when one person cooks the meal in the kitchen, they aren’t tripping over other toes trying to move around the area, AND when everyone eats together, mealtime might last half an hour or 45 minutes instead of an hour to hour and a half. So if the family has things they need to be doing in a timely manner elsewhere, it is advantageous for everyone to eat the same thing at the same time. Now this isn’t to say there can’t be variation while one person cooks. For example, you yell out you’re making sandwiches, one wants peanut butter and jelly, another wants meat and cheese, and you want tomatoe and cucumber. If you are the one assembling the sandwiches, you can do it assembly-style and have everyone’s requests laid out and assembled in less time than if each of them did it themselves. Variations can work at the breakfast and lunchtime meals, but due to dinnertime being the bigger meal in the house, it is wise to only make one type of the dish to put on the table. If you are tight on funds, this bigger meal is only bigger in the portions, not necessarily in the content. Remember, you are carefully using the time and money God gives you to feed your family well. This won’t look like a 4 course meal with dessert every night. That might happen at Christmas, Easter, and maybe a big birthday or graduation celebration. Pasta, meat and salad is both filling and incorporates dairy, protein, grain and veggie. Change out the pasta for rice or potatoes. Vary the meat option. The salad can be replaced by carrot sticks, apple wedges, corn, etc. The pasta itself can be varied merely by what kind of sauce you throw together. Don’t buy your sauces pre-made, that costs more than doing it yourself at home over the stove. Of course if a sauce goes on sale for less than your bulk ingredients and goes just as far, then sure, buy it. But remember that your bulk ingredient purchases go for many meals-worth of sauces and not just 3 or 4. So the savings often are not there in pre-done packages.

As you can see, I can’t talk about mealtime without bringing both time and money management. This concept of mealtimes will be revisited at other times of the year as well, but today’s focus was to share and show how family time around the table can not only benefit your interpersonal conversation and security in your home, but how it can also benefit your daily schedule and pocketbook as well.

$17 Seven Day Challenge: Finding Restful Routes and RoutinesMy $17 seven day challenge: Finding Restful Routes and Routines takes place on Facebook starting June 14th. There will be prizes as well as 2 weeks for accountability after the challenge closes. I invite you to participate to learn more about how being intentional in your scheduling can lead to less stress and more rest.

If you want more info specifically around how mealtimes can save you money or time, book a free call with me from my website, or send me a DM asking for an assessment chat to go over how I can help you resolve or reach a desired goal in this area.

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