Panic Hour

I work full-time and have no time to cook. The kids are hungry when they get home and one hour seems too long of a wait.

No Time

Dear NT:

5:00 pm: kids get cranky.

5:05 pm: parents, reacting to the kids, get really cranky.

5:10 pm: kids, reacting to the parents, get really, REALLY cranky.

6:00 pm: everyone hits the dinner table like ravenous wolverines, miserable, and generally not in a good mood.

As a result, dinnertime with the family is not so fun! Am I alone here, or does this scenario sound vaguely familar? It's possible to avoid some of this with a little bit of planning.

Many meals can be made in 30 minutes or less. All that's needed is a well-stocked pantry, a simple recipe, and maybe some advance prep. If the kids have reached (or are about to reach) their hunger threshold, give them a small, healthy snack like veggies and dip, or a small fruit while dinner's on the go. It's amazing how well that works. And while you're at it, you might want to sneak in a carrot stick or two for yourself.

Just be sure to balance that with a little structure... kids shouldn't expect to eat anything they want right before a mealtime. That can be a recipe for a different kind of meltdown!

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