The struggle is real. There are many nights a week where I groan on the inside as it is time to make dinner. I have never been one to plan meals in advance with a planner but then on busy nights it is the juggle between homework, getting chores done, dinner preparation, setting table, flurry of chaos and then it is done! 

We sit at the table most nights a week, to sit reconnect at the end of a day and then clean up together over doing the dishes. The question for me is how can I be more intentional with this time to make this time more meaningful for everyone involved. How can I use this time to make it less stressful but make it something better than it is?

We are a family of 6. So one idea is the '$10,$15,$20 week'.  This is simply what we do, no tricks:

  • Ask you child, family member or friend to choose a meal they would like to prepare - this could be burritos, pasta bake, chicken katsu curry
  • Give them a budget - $10, $15, $20 over and above pantry staples
  • Write a list of ingredients you need to buy that is within the budget
  • Shop for ingredients - if it is over budget we have to adapt something
  • Help them prepare the meal and set the table

The reward with this is that with a little extra effort and planning it is to see the pride in your child, friend or family member of making something for your family or group. It builds confidence, independence, respect for food, time and conversation. The conversation always starts with what how you cooked the meal, compliments to the cook, what you learnt and what you can do better next time. It's also great for starting to build money management skills - have a budget and stick to it. They soon realise and understand the real cost of things and appreciation of resources that go into food preparation everyday.

We do this every month and pull it out when we need. Give it a try.