Making Change | All Blogs

Stress: I’m trying to cook dinner, but the hunger monsters are biting my legs!

By Ann Wright

“So, what are you not doing today?”

My usual response: “Uh ... I don't know.”

Until I get close to the end of the day, when I have the choice of doing another couple chores or going to bed/knitting/reading, I often don't know what I won't be doing.

What I am doing is trying to be more realistic about what is on my to-do list and, as a result, I've been thinking about ways I can make weekday evenings less stressful.

One area that has been particularly stressful for me the past few years is dinnertime. Since becoming a mother, then having a toddler who insisted on eating only chicken nuggets, canned corn, apple slices and milk every evening for nearly a year (Ahhh! I'm a good cook! Why won't this kid eat anything I make!), dinnertime has been a frustration.

As my children have gotten a little older, it's gotten somewhat better and that toddler-now-kid's diet is slowly expanding. However, the time between arriving home after work/daycare and the point at which my children turn into hunger monsters is oh, so, short. After getting them a snack to put off the emergence of the hunger monsters, I've got about 30-40 minutes, give or take, to have dinner ready.

So I plan meals for each week and grocery shop on weekends. The Crock-Pot is a best friend. I'm proficient at the one-pot, 30-minute meal. I always have chicken nuggets in the freezer, just in case.

I'm not sure if I can do much more to make the dinner preparation process faster. So what can I do to make it less stressful? I'm pondering my attitudes and approach to the situation. If you have any suggestions, send them my way at

I also will peruse a book that a publisher recently sent my way: “Eat Yourself Calm: Ingredients & Recipes To Reduce The Stress In Your Life” by Gill Paul and Karen Sullivan. It recommends dark chocolate, ginger and oats among other ingredients for creating foods to reduce stress. I have no idea if this book really will be helpful, but dark chocolate, here I come …


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We used to call it the arsenic hour.  That hour before dinner where everyone is cranky and tired and you have to make dinner.  Once your kids grow up and move out; no more arsenic hour!  Only how many years do you have left?

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