I aim to involve my children in meal planning and preparation as much as possible. I not only love to work with my children in the kitchen, it often gets them excited about trying new foods and flavour combinations. My daughter specifically loves to plate up food, as you will see examples of this below as she gets really creative with it. Often we look at recipes together and plan what we would like to try and make together.
At main meal times- we either plate up straight into a bowl as you will see below, or we put food on 1-2 platters onto the table for everyone to share depending on the type of food we are making. When my husband is away for work or we have had a busier week, we will keep dinners really simple, that may only take 10-15 minutes to make. I don’t stress over diners as long as I know we have all eaten well enough during the day. For the most part I keep dinners to 30 minutes or less because I do some food prep over the weekend to make meals during the week a little easier. It may be as simple as chopping up a bunch of raw vegetables or oven roasting some vegetables and storing them in the fridge, pre-cooking grains and putting them into the fridge or freezer, or making up soup/stews/curries or vegetable broth all in advance.
I have mentioned before that I use the Simplicity Parenting book suggestions as a guide for meal planning to give me a base to work on- so for example; Monday- Pasta, Tuesday- Soup, Wednesday- Rice or Quinoa. I change my meal plan approx every three months (seasonally). I aim to stick to a food budget and follow a set shopping list of the main food items we eat. Choosing seasonal and local produce also helps the food budget.