For Andrea Karns, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Karns Foods, family dinner was a family tradition.
“Whether it was 4:30 before soccer practice took place, or at 7:30 when everyone got home and was done for the night. That was always the priority,” Karns said.
But Karns says for many families nowadays, that tradition is hard to maintain when both parents have to punch the time clock.
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“61% of families are both working parents, so they’re out there working all day long, come home, pick up their kids, they want to sit down at the table and have a stress-free evening meal, and that’s often hard with the time stresses we’re already in,” Karns said.
But, she says, grocery stores have a lot of solutions and shortcuts to offer.
“Fresh cut and prepped in the frozen department, you’ll certainly find canned vegetable options in the center of the store, but it’s also important to make the freezer section your best friend. Having some go-to freezer vegetables on hand in your freezer for a moment’s notice, to put on the kitchen table is a great way to save time, and still be feeding your family a healthy meal.”
“One thing that families often struggle with is that center of the plate item,” she said. “You have your vegetables, you have your potatoes, you have your salad ready to go, but what goes in the middle of the plate.?
“There’s a lot of ways to make that streamlined, whether you’re buying something that’s cooked and warming it up, a grab-and-go option, that’s certainly super easy, or when you go through the meat department or the seafood department, there’s items that are marinated, or stuffed pork chops, stuffed chicken breasts, where it’s already done, it just needs to go in the oven. “
Karns adds that one of the biggest timesavers is planning ahead. “Making a meal plan at the beginning of the week, and planning out on Monday we’ll have chicken, Tuesday we’re doing tacos, so on and so forth.”
And if possible, she says prep the meal the night before.
When you finally get the family to all sit down at the table at the same time, Karns has one final suggestion: put down the electronics before you pick up your fork.
“Carving out that time where cell phones go to the side, even if it’s just for 15, 20, 30minutes, whatever amount of time I can get with the family sitting around, being with one another, face-to-face, eye contact, enjoying a good meal, any of that time is awesome bonus time that’s going to create a lot of memories.”