Dinner can often be the most difficult meal of the day, with everyone tired from a long day of activities, school and work. Add to that a fussy eater or two, and a parent who’s had enough of food ending up in the bin, and you have a recipe for one stressful situation.

If we feel overwhelmed at mealtime, we are much more likely to feed our family convenience foods or turn to takeaway options. Here are some time-saving tips for easy family mealtimes, minus the fuss. Take the stress out of midweek dinners. You will not only save time and money, but your family’s diet will improve, and everyone’s mood will too!

– One thing I always recommend to clients and encourage at my workshops is meal planning.It may sound daunting, but planning ahead will actually save you time and money in the long run. Finding inspiration can often be half the battle, which is why I tackle the topic in my book Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook. The menu planners featured in the book provide practical guidance on how busy families can prepare for the week ahead

– Batch cooking is probably the best way to remove midweek stress and it will reduce your average shopping bill too. A few hours of prep on the weekend will soon result in a freezer full of nutritious, homemade ‘convenience’ foods like spaghetti bolognaise and beef and veggie meatballs. It can be as simple as making a little extra each time you cook. For example, when roasting vegetables or steaming cauliflower, save a portion for next night’s dinner, or for use in sweet
potato pikelets or cauliflower pizza bases

– When trying new recipes, work with your family’s preferences. For example, if your child loves meat but not meat on the bone, go for shepherd’s pie over lamb cutlets (both recipes can be found in the Wholesome Child book) . Remember to be patient with your children and give them time to adjust to new foods. Being sensitive to every family member’s food preferences, and making sure there’s at least one component everyone can eat, will help make mealtimes much more enjoyable and successful!

– Make grocery shopping and cooking a fun, shared activity rather, not just a chore for Mum and Dad. Let the kids help make the grocery lists, shop online with you, accompany you to the grocery store, unpack bags, wash veggies and help prepare the meal. You can spend time together and get ahead. Bonus – your kids will be more inclined to try something new, if they helped you make it, be it buy, wash or shop.

Getting the family involved, figuring out which tips and tricks suit you best and seeing the time and cost saving benefits, all help to pave the way for a less stressful and more nutritious journey. Remember to celebrate the achievements along the way – however small they may be!

To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website,
or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook.
Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook”is available to purchase
online and at the iTunes store

Recipe | Lamb koftas

A rich source of iron, vitamin B and zinc, these lamb koftas make the perfect easy kids dinner. Children love the naturally sweet flavour of the dates and carrots, plus who doesn’t enjoy eating something off a stick?


500g lamb mince
1 egg
1 leek, finely sliced
½ clove garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp of mixed or Italian herbs
1 medium sized carrot, grated finely
2-3 soft Medjool dates (optional)
Salt to taste
Coconut oil or organic olive oil


Place leek, carrot, date and garlic in food processor and blend until smooth.

Place meat in medium sized bowl, add egg, cinnamon, herbs, salt and vegetables and process together.

Using your hands, shape the mixture into small sausage shapes.

Heat oil in medium fry pan and place sausages in pan. Allow to cook each side for approx. 5-8 min or until cooked through.


Serve with homemade tomato sauce or tzatziki.

EasternSuburbsMums - Family Dinners