A New Kind of Dinnertime

A New Kind of Dinnertime

As a new mom, I’ve quickly realized that perfection is only something I can strive for (remember this photo?). My time is limited, but I still want to make the right choices for me and my family. One example of that? Dinnertime.

Anel and I used to have dinner together every night and it was my favorite time of day. I would spend 30 minutes to an hour making us a wholesome meal, we’d light candles (yes every night), drink wine (no not every night), and listen to music while talking about our days. No electronics were allowed, so it was a nice time to unplug and really connect. We tried to do this at least three times a week because we both felt calmer and more connected on the nights when we did. Things definitely look a lot different at dinnertime post baby! For her first five weeks, we had her going down at 8:30pm so the time between 6:30 and 8:30 was totally chaotic. It would be filled with bathtime, feedings, and her fussiest hours of the day. We would order in almost every night because we were too frazzled to think about dinner.

I’d eat at the counter while Anel gave her a bath, and he’d scarf his meal while I fed her. It was a disaster zone! That plan was A) expensive and B) not always the healthiest decision. Since then we’ve made two big changes that have helped us have a better dinnertime.

First, we moved her bedtime up to 7pm so that at 7:30 we can sit together and eat, even if it’s with a monitor on the table, surrounded by laundry and a to do list a mile long for the night.

Secondly, we agreed to ordering in no more than once a week and we feel so much healthier because of it. While dinnertime looks different, we refuse to compromise on what we’re eating. We try to buy as many prepared items as possible and then make a big salad so that dinner prep takes 20 minutes or less.

Progresso Organic soups are a great way to have a hearty and wholesome organic meal, made in only a few minutes. When we serve them with a salad and glass of wine, and it feels just like the old days… almost!

I was excited to see that a brand that we loved growing up (my Italian grandmother swore by their canned tomatoes for her tomato sauce!) created an organic line. It goes to show that eating organic doesn’t have to be expensive or unattainable.

Each can retails for around $2.99 and the ingredients are super clean. Plus they’re really good! The Organic Tomato Basil and Organic Savory Lentil are my two favorite flavors, so far. You can find my favorites, and other flavors in the canned soup aisle at your local grocer!

Do you have any tricks for new parents trying to handle dinnertime? Any and all mom hacks are appreciated!

Thank you to Progresso for sponsoring this post. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

  • Dinnertime is definitely difficult with babies/small children. I don’t even remember what we did with a baby- it’s a blur! My husband was remembering how he used to make these gourmet meals for us and spend weekends cooking- it’s funny compared to the chaos that happens now!

    Our youngest is 18 months & we started to JUST figure out a system for dinner. We’ve been making meals the night before since there’s not a lot of time between getting home from work & dinner- it’s been a game changer.

    • Haha it already feels like a blur and I’m only 2 months in 🙂 Love the idea of the night before. I also am a big fan of the crock pot!

  • jennie lopez

    Start reading anything Jenny, from Dinner, a Love Story, writes! She is the ultimate authority on all things family dinner, and so great. She says it gets loads easier when your youngest kid turns three. Makes me feel better about the nights we manage to pull off a great dinner that we all 3 enjoy together, or that my husband and I eat in tandem after the (18 month old) “baby” is down for the night. They’re rare, but wonderful.

    • Literally just spent an hour perusing her site. Oops! Thank you for sharing though 🙂 I can’t wait for family dinners with her!!

  • Amy

    I can totally relate to the dinner time struggle (and it only gets harder when your children start evening activities). We try to eat healthy (no dairy, gluten and low sugar) so I find that if I don’t have healthy foods prepped and washed and cut up, I end up eating something I regret later! Saturdays are our big grocery shopping day and Sundays are for a marathon meal prep. I will made a large pan of roasted vegetables, hard boil a dozen eggs, cook and shred a couple pounds of chicken to add to meals throughout the week, make salad dressing, chop any veggies needed for recipes that week, etc. This saves so much time later in the week and ensures I can get something on the table for dinner each night! I also use a handful of shortcuts from Traders Joes (organic brown rice that microwaves in three minutes, coleslaw mix for chicken Asian salads, chopped butternut squash, riced cauliflower, etc.).

    • Amy

      Oh and I agree with Kellie! Sometimes I can make most of the dinner during nap time and save myself the clean up later and just reheat.

  • Katrin B

    I remember that time too… I always fell asleep when bringing her to bed and missed dinner so many times. So we decided to just have her around while we’re having dinner. She was sitting in a secure little baby bouncer ON our table and watched us eat. She really enjoyed it (rocking, singing, laughing at how we eat..) and we had a great dinner experiences for a couple of months before she was old enough to sit in a high chair 😉

    • I love that!!! I do that with her at lunch sometimes but never tried it for dinner. Maybe we’ll test it out this week. I’ll report back 🙂