Making time for a home cooked meal

Gwenn Crittle


As a single college parent, I am working on balancing and sometimes compromising the value of home cooked meals with homework for both my son and I.

Dinnertime has been a struggle during my school years. Most days, I get home a few hours before I have to pick up my son and try to start on homework when I could be preparing for dinner. I have compromised making home cooked meals for my child for four years.

This year, I made the decision to start cooking for him, but he has grown accustomed to eating out. Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, macaroni from KFC, even a monthly journey to Redondo Beach for Joe’s Crab Shack where our go-to places but that needed to stop and it has.

I have compromised with my son but I didn’t make him go “cold turkey.” Three days out of the week I let him eat at a place of his choice and if he chooses a four-piece meal from McDonald’s, he has to get apple dippers instead of fries. We also have flip-flop day, meaning he can have breakfast for dinner and vice versa. For the remaining days we prepare a meal together and we have a side of fruit or vegetables or both.

It is a compromise and it helps when there are days where I have a little more work than other days. It has worked in other ways too. My son is eating more fruits for snacks instead of sugary snacks. He has been more attentive in school these last few months and fighting with him at dinnertime is practically nonexistent.

This may not work for all college parents but it has worked for me. I compromise with my son because it is sometimes a struggle to balance both of us being in school and trying to cook a home cooked meal.