• Cook double batches so you have enough food for two meals. When you prepare dinner, cook extra and freeze food for another night.

• Make dishes that will provide leftovers, such as roast chicken or casseroles. Keep ingredients on hand to turn leftovers into a nutritious meal.

• Find recipes that work well in slow cookers. This lessens the prep time when you return from work, and allows for more family time after dinner and before bedtime.

• Consolidate food preparation tasks. If you're chopping vegetables for a stir fry, chop twice as many (it's only a little more work), and freeze the extras for another meal.

• Make meal preparation simple. A weekly dinnertime "breakfast" of scrambled eggs and toast is fun for the kids and easy to make. One family has "cold cereal night" on Tuesdays. It's a great hit. Hot dog night or pasta-with-cheese night are also good no-fuss alternatives. Have fruits and raw veggies on hand to keep meals simple as well as nutritious.

• Find a good cookbook full of healthy, easy-to-prepare meals. Teach your older child to cook them with you.

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