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The Daily Challenge: What's For Dinner?

By Cara Hunt

cbrennen@tribunemedia.net

With 7pm weekly curfews and the food stores closed on weekends, it is harder than ever to figure out that never-ending question of what’s for dinner.

This week, Tribune moms reveal their tips for meal planning in the era of COVID-19.

“It is essential that you go to the store with a game plan and a list,” says Linda, a married mom of three.

“I try to go when I think it is the least crowded because I already hate going to the food store in the best of times judge during a pandemic. So, I make sure that I know exactly what I am going for - along with a few substitutes because the food store does have shortages, so let's say you want a special brand of sauce and they don’t have it you need to have a quick back up in mind, so you don’t waste time."

Another piece of advice that she has is to buy in bulk as much as you can.

“If there are items that are staples in your home, buy them in bulk as much as space and finances will allow.

“We started buying things like extra milk and bread and freezing them because we go through them a lot. We have also been buying buy larger-sized items or case of things like ketchup and snacks, because if I don’t with everyone home, we would run out each week.”

Suzette also buys in bulk, but admits that she hides extra snacks.

“I don’t know who is worse, my kids or my husband. But since everyone home, Lord knows they eating all day and I know that it is boredom. So, what I do is buy the case of stuff, but I slowly refill over time so it can last,” she said.

“I try to buy enough food to last two weeks because if I stay out the shop, I am one less person moving round blocking the people who aren’t able to shop in advance. I see people going in the store to buy one or two items after standing in that hot line and I wonder if they are emergency supplies or they just like being on the line in the sun. Cause if I ain' doing a full shop, I am not standing on no line just because.”

Marie noted that she meal preps for the month and shops accordingly.

“Trying to work from home and ensure my son and daughter stay on top of school and the stays clean and my sanity is intact is hard enough. I refuse to take on the burden of being a gourmet chef. We just trying to survive. What I do for the month is we eat the same meat each day of the week. So for example I pick four Sunday dinners - Monday we eat the leftovers from Sunday or chicken, Tuesday is some form of ground beef, like Taco Tuesday, meatloaf spaghetti, Wednesday is fish/seafood, Thursday is a red meat like pork chop or beef and Friday is like a 'fry day' - hamburgers, hot dogs or maybe pizza and before lockdown, Saturday would be eat out day. Now it's really just everyone eats whatever they find."

Having that basic idea in my head has been a huge time saver - so now I just take whatever meat that day out in the morning clean and prep it round lunchtime figure out what I am going to do it and with what sides and by dinner time ain' no stress and we ready to go.”

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