Drama-Free Family Dinner Tips

Get kid-friendly advice from real HGTV fans and experts on how to stock your pantry, meal plan, cook and set the table like a pro.
By: Briana Mowrey
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Photo By: Monkey Business Images Ltd

Photo By: DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Alison Gootee (food styling, Khalil Hymore)

Photo By: Lilyana Vynogradova

Photo By: LDProd

Photo By: DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Supersize It

"It is really basic, but I make HUGE meals. There are only three of us. I get the first meal and if we really don't want to eat that same meal soon, I freeze it to eat when we have NO time or I just don't want to cook." -Facebook fan Kristing Jorgenson

Guilt-Free Favorites

This delicious chicken finger recipe will keep your youngest diners happy, but it's healthy enough for the whole family to enjoy, guilt free.

Slice and Dice

"Pre-cut your vegetables for the week, such as onions, peppers, carrots and tomatoes, and place them in re-sealable containers in the fridge. They stay fresh for the week and when you need them, all you have to do is reach for them. Saves LOTS of time when you are in a hurry. Also cheaper than buying them pre-cut and you know how long they have been around. FYI: Don't pre-cut your avocados....lol." -Facebook fan Fran Horton

Plan Ahead

A weekly (or monthly) menu plan conserves a home manager's most valuable resource: energy. Follow these strategies to put the power of menu and meal planning to work for you.

Play With Their Food

"My one go-to [parenting] trick is food-related. I add faces and make shapes with everything! Tofu trees, smiley rice cakes, you name it!" -Lorena Siminovich of Petit Collage

Try Lorena's advice at home and make this funny-face toast for your kids, as seen in HGTV Magazine.

Keep It Separated

The classic ice cube tray format is perfect for those who like to keep their food separate. The insanely-clever hack from Jennifer Bishop is a big hit with the toddler set, especially picky eaters! (They may even ask for seconds.)

Cut It Out

Make sandwiches more appealing by cutting them into shapes. The kooky cut-outs make packed lunches more exciting, but this idea would work for a fun family meal, too. Kids can even do it themselves with your cookie cutters.

Brilliant Way to Bite-Size

"I use a pizza cutter to cut most of my children's food into nice pieces: waffles, pancakes, etc." -Facebook fan Elissa Gallien

"Pizza" Night

Get the kids in the kitchen to help prepare these easy tortilla "pizzas." Feel free to customize them with your favorite additions and even sneak some veggies on top.

Cook and Chill

The concept of freezer cooking is simple: When you do cook, cook multiple portions and freeze extra servings. But without labels, planning or portion control, the cook-ahead effort goes to waste. Use these tips to fine-tune your freezer cooking skills and avoid mystery meals.

Save Smarter

"Digital coupons for grocery shopping [are] great!" -Facebook fan Bekki Sprouse

Shopping Strategies

Smart shopping can reduce the cost of food and cut the time and energy it takes to shop. Try these tips for frugal, efficient grocery shopping.

Set It Right

Do proper place setting rules stump you or the kids? Here's an easy guide to putting everything in the right spot on a dinner table.