What is your immediate reaction to the words: “Dinner Time”? Is it a wave of panic? A groan of despair? Or (could it be possible?) a sense of well-being because you’ve got this under control?
I firmly believe we CAN set ourselves up for dinnertime success, and I’ve got a few tips to help you along! It all starts with a good family command center.
If the family is the heart of the home, the family command center is the brain. This one station will help you keep track of everything, inform everyone of the plan, and hold onto anything you don’t want to lose. If you know how to use it right, you can soon have everything flowing seamlessly between planning meals, grocery shopping, and dinnertime prep!
I personally use the 1THRIVE family command center. It’s so customizable! They really have thought of everything. I’ve done a full review of it here, but in this video, I zero in on how I use it for my meal planning routine. (And a shout-out to 1Thrive for sponsoring this content.)
Here are some key ways that you can take control of your meal planning, grocery shopping, and dinner prep with your family command center:
Collect meal plan ideas
Whenever you catch yourself thinking about something that sounds good for dinner, STOP and write it down right away! The meal planning inspiration doesn’t always strike when you want it to, so it’s better to get ahead of the game and write things down as they come to mind. Add it to a running list on your family command center so you can refer back to it when you plan your grocery list.
And, unless you live by yourself, chances are other family members are going to be eating what you’re cooking. Why not ask them what they want for dinner? They can add it to the list as well!
Keep track of what you have/what you need
I can’t imagine a situation much worse than realizing you’re out of soy sauce while you’re in the middle of making teriyaki chicken! To avoid this problem, start writing down staple ingredients on your family command center AS you run out of them. Refer back to the list when you’re planning your grocery list or snap a picture while you head out the door. No more teriyaki chicken emergencies!
Similarly, start making a list of what’s in your freezer. Click here for a handy dandy Freezer Inventory printable to help you get started figuring out what you have stowed away in there!
You can hang this printable up on your family command center, and then you’ll always know what’s there without having to dig through the frosty depths just to know if you need more ice cream or frozen veggies.
Keep everyone informed
Once you sit down to write your official meal plan for the week, keep everyone (including yourself) up to speed by posting it on your family command center. This is where I love using the 1WRITE insert on my 1THRIVE center. There’s a spot to write down the meals for each day of the week. No more kids repeatedly asking what’s for dinner!
Store recipes at your fingertips
You’ve made your plan, bought your groceries, and now it’s time to cook. Rather than scrambling to find that one Pinterest recipe you had in mind, why not print it off when you plan your meals and store it in the file holder on your family command center? Then, after you use it, just add it to an alphabetized recipe binder so you won’t have to reprint it for next time.
As a bonus, you could also store coupons or sales fliers so they’ll be ready to go when you’re ready to grocery shop.
If thinking about what to have for dinner AGAIN stirs up some negative emotions, I assure you, you are not alone. However, you don’t have to fly by the seat of your pants on this! With a little planning, (and a great family command center), dinnertime can be just that much easier every day! Check out 1THRIVE's variety of options here. There is something for everyone, so I'm sure you can find just what you're looking for!