Time Saving Tips for Simple Family Dinners

A family gathered together around a kitchen table

Sitting down together at the dinner table each night is great for fostering both a healthy lifestyle and togetherness as a family. Relatives with dysphagia want to feel included in household activities, and with different diets and hectic schedules, that can be a challenge.

However, preparing nutritious family meals and eating together doesn’t necessarily require hours slaving in the kitchen, a gourmet cooking background or a budget bust. With these simple family dinner tips and helpful products such as THICK & EASY® thickeners and pre-thickened foods and beverages and MED PASS® nutritional shakes, you and your loved ones can find time to enjoy one another’s company – and delicious meals – every night of the week.

Reduce prep time with these tools

  1. A few handy kitchen gadgets can make vegetable preparation a snap:
    • Larger, curved chef’s knives make swifter cuts.
    • Or try a mandoline, which uses a sliding blade to quickly and uniformly slice onions, potatoes, apples and other produce.
  2. Vegetables can also be cut in advance the night or the morning before.
    Simply chop and store them with a little water to keep them crisp and fresh for dinnertime.

You can also get more mileage out of your prep time by making bigger meals and enjoying them as leftovers for lunch or dinner.

Focus on flexible ingredients

Plan meals a week in advance so all of your ingredients are available in your pantry. For weeks when you know you’ll be crunched for time, stock up on THICK & EASY® pre-thickened entrees for those in the family who have swallowing problems. There are several entrees from which to choose, from homestyle beef with corn and potatoes to hearty Italian-style lasagna.

For the rest of the family, buy versatile main ingredients in larger quantities so they may be used for several nights’ meals.

A whole roasted chicken can be used for a variety of wholesome dinner ideas:

  • Hot barbecue chicken sandwiches on whole-wheat buns.
  • Spinach salad with chicken, fresh berries and nuts.
  • Low-fat chicken salad with apple or pear, red grapes, pecans and light mayonnaise.

Serve nutrient-dense meals

Add a nutritious boost to every meal by picking foods loaded with nutrients. For an aging loved one, MED PASS® nutritional shakes come with the nourishing benefits of 480 calories plus extra vitamins, minerals and protein. For a fortified family dinner, choose recipes with these helpful ingredients:

  • Beans & Peas: Legumes are a delicious source of protein and are rich in iron, zinc, potassium and folate. They can stand in for either the meat or the vegetable group.
  • Whole Grains: At least 50 percent of your grains should be whole grains because they’re richer in nutrients and fiber than their processed counterparts.
  • Milk: Three glasses a day of low-fat or fat-free milk will add bone-healthy calcium and Vitamin D to your diet. This is especially important for growing kids.

THICK & EASY® products and MED PASS® nutritional shakes are perfect for families on the go

Even with a hectic schedule, these products make it easier to ensure everyone in your household gets nutritious meals. THICK & EASY® products and MED PASS® nutritional shakes are available for home delivery online, or at your neighborhood Walgreens.