Dinner can be a hectic time of day. It doesn’t have to be a crazy time of day though. For the past few years, I’ve been practicing a few things that have made dinnertime a lot less stressful in our household. The tips I’m bringing you today worked for us even before we introduced kids into the mix. They are simple tips that can be adapted to fit almost any lifestyle or family size.

These five simple tips can help you make dinnertime less stressful in your household. These tips are designed to fit the needs of almost any family. Simply adapt them to fit what your family needs.

Have a plan.
Meal planning has been a lifesaver for us. It helps us combat “What’s for dinner?” and saves us money at the store since we know exactly what we’ll need for a set period of time. On the surface, meal planning seems like a lot of extra up front work, but it can be incredibly simple. Check out Simple Meal Planning for Busy Women for even more meal plan ideas!

Set aside time to shop.
Have you ever done the last minute dash to the store because you were missing an item that you needed? I know I have and it adds an extra layer of stress to dinner that doesn’t need to exist. We’ve cut down on those last minute runs by creating our grocery list right after making our meal plan for the week. Then, we set aside one day to go to the store and pick up everything that we need. This saves us time and stress.

Prep in advance.
This one goes along with meal planning and can take many forms. Some people prep all of their food on Sunday to make the week easier. For others, prep simply means remembering to thaw any food that will be used. After you make your plan for the week, take a few moments to determine what you can do in advance to make life a little easier.

Share the responsibility.
Don’t cook alone! If your schedule allows, divide the kitchen responsibilities. The husband and I take turns cooking and picking out recipes to make. This means that we each get a bit of a break from the kitchen throughout the week. If you have a reluctant cook, you could assign them easy meals to start out with – almost anyone can dump ingredients into a crockpot and set the timer!

Find go to recipes for busy nights.
This is the biggest key to keeping dinner simple and stress free. Everyone encounters busy nights during the week and those are often the nights when dinner falls apart. For us, we plan easy meals for these nights. Our go to meals for “easy” are crockpot meals and sheet pan dinners. They require minimal prep and basically involve setting a timer and returning later.

How do you keep dinner simple and stress free in your home? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments below!