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8 mealtime tips for back-to-school season
Fiery Thai Basil Stir-Fry by June Williamson - photo by June V. Williamson
My youngest of five children is now in junior high school. However, even when my children were preschool-age, dinners together were few and far between.

Sports, work, church activities, socials and other commitments all made it a major challenge. Here are some things Ive found that help with planning for family meals now that we're transitioning back to a school schedule.

1. Try to plan and have breakfast together at least three times per week. Plan meals that are simple, such as whole-wheat waffles, eggs, muffins, breakfast burritos, oatmeal, boiled eggs and crepes.

2. For breakfasts, I make a big batch of waffles and cook them just until firm but not brown. I then freeze them, and the kids can pop them in the toaster when they want. Dont forget to make them whole wheat.

3. Get input from the whole family on what they want and will eat.

4. Assign your teenagers to each cook once a week.

5. Focus on a mandatory Sunday dinner together, or pick a night that will work for your family.

6. On Sunday, I'll make a large pot roast and have that for dinner. Then on Monday, I'll use the leftover roast beef for French dip sandwiches and serve that with a salad.

7. I love quick and easy recipes. We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I buy them by the bulk when they are on sale. When they are partially frozen, I slice them thinly and freeze them in 2-pound bags. When I want to do a stir-fry, curry or soup, I just pull out one of the bags and thaw it in the microwave (or in the fridge the night before).

8. Have a stir-fry and rice for one dinner. Make extra rice, and the next day, use the leftover rice for ham fried rice.