Busy Parents' Dilemma

It’s 5:45, and I’m sitting in my son’s cramped karate studio, watching him sharpen his kung-fu mastery and wondering what on earth I’m going to make for dinner this evening. I’m pretty sure we have some chicken sausages, maybe some gnocchi and perhaps a bag of spinach that’s partially turning to mush in the fridge. Good grief.

“I must do a better job with meal planning,” says my inner heckler. “This week, I’m going to pull myself together, man!”

I love to cook and experiment with new recipes—always have. Yet I seem to be stuck in scramble mode when it comes to weeknight dinners. Like many moms and dads in my stage of life, I work long hours, taxi my boys all over town, and chronically overcommit myself anytime someone asks, “Sarah, could you…?”

These are busy times, and the pace of life seems to be in permanent acceleration. I chide myself about making healthy meals a bigger priority for our family, but the hours slip away, and I find myself falling back on spaghetti…again.

Thankfully, it seems I’m not alone. Friends, family and co-workers all struggle with the same dilemma. We want to eat well. We want to introduce our kids to fresh foods and new flavors. And we want to flush the salt-fat-sugar-laced crapola out of our diets.

The idea of eating well doesn’t seem too hard. But when you’re jostling around in the grocery store with every other busy parent in town, or when you’re digging through the depths of your fridge looking for that broccoli you know you just bought, a home-cooked dinner seems much more a task than a joy.

I’m not giving up hope, though. In fact, I’m strengthening my resolve to cook more, eat better, and give my husband and kiddos the fresh, tasty meals they deserve. Down with the Ragu pasta sauce! I’m making my own, dammit. And forget the frozen pizza. I’m making that, too.

This year, I’m determined to crack the code to eating well. If my great-grandmother—a widow with three children—could prepare fresh meals in a 3-room farmhouse with no running water or corner market, then surely I can, too. Right?

Youbetcha. I’m doing it. Who’s with me?

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Sarah Nord

Sarah Nord blogs about food, family and fine living at www.pen2page.me. Sarah loves to share recipes and life experiences that are all about the pursuit of health and happiness. By day, Sarah works in marketing and consulting for software startups. By night, she loves on her family, tends her home and juggles her many hobbies, including cooking, gardening, crafting and reading. Sarah is passionate about eating well, shopping local and giving back. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, two children, two corgis and cranky cat.