5 Parent Hacks for fuss-free dinners!

We know it all too well, the 6am wake-up call.

Get breakfast going, pack lunch, neaten school tie, instruct teeth brushing, sign homework book.


School run.


Face a full workday. Try not to nod off.


School run.

More traffic.


Bath. Homework.

Dinner. Dinner?!

Yikes! Yet, we do it to the best of our ability.

Because it’s those tiny smiles and special moments that make it all totally worth it.

We want to help you manage all that madness as best we can, so we’ve documented some tried and tested PARENT HACKS to keep things peaceful and nourishing at the dinner table.


Parent Hack # 1


This is a great way to get those sneaky veggies in to kids!

Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a hot pan over medium-high heat. Throw in garlic and chopped onions and give them a stir. Cook until the onions are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add half a cup of veggie stock. Cook until the liquid reduces by half. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and a dollop of honey. Add a teaspoon of dried oregano and fresh basil leaves, about a handful. At this point you can also add in about a handful of kale! Make sure you do not overshoot the kale mark here though, it should be more or less the same amount as the basil leaves.

Now blend! Shhhh (we won’t say a thing 😉 )

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Note: the trick is to use a little bit of the selected sneaky veggies, it’s all about ratios here. Then enthusiastically naming it “pizza sauce” which is something that is easily relatable for kids. Add your pizza sauce to some Happy Earth People chickpea pasta, and there you have it! A nutritious meal, with smiles all round!

Image source: The Kitchn


Parent Hack # 2


ALWAYS chop your veggies in small bite-sized bits when roasting the trick is to not let the veggies look overwhelming. They are also quicker to roast, which will save you some cooking time.

Add to your favourite pasta sauce or pesto and boom!

Note: The smaller, more unrecognisable, the better.


Parent Hack # 3


These can be your secret weapon. Look for meat substitutes that do not have additives and nasties. Read the ingredients, and when they’re good, keep a few stocked in the freezer.

They are quick to cook, and you can just pop them in the oven. There are some great options out there. We like to use Urban Vegan burger bites to create a- insert Italian accent here:  “pasta e no-meat balls” be sure to roast them sightly first, so that they keep a good texture.

Or better yet, if you have the time and want to get your kids to help you make some, we’ve got a delicious recipe for you right here.


Parent Hack # 4


These are your best friend. Literally.

Keep them stocked and nearby, try to look for the sauces with no funny business. There are a few at Woolies, and Ina Paarman also do some really delicious ones.

Needless to say, which kid does not like pesto? Thank goodness for quick easy, pesto. Add that to some Happy Earth People red lentil fusilli and wowsers! It’s dinner done in ten!

Healthy. Delicious. Fuss-free.

If you would like to make your own pesto, Sarah Graham shares a delicious recipe on her blog. It’s super simple, just the way we like it!

Image source: Sarah Graham


Parent Hack # 5


You don’t always need to break a sweat! Sometimes it’s better to keep it simple; just add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. If you have some herbs, toss them in.

Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered:

Protein. Check!
Good carbs. Check.
Fibre. Check.
Healthy fats, from the olive oil. Check.

It’s still basically a serving of vegetables.

And no fuss! Sorted.


We hope these help you, so that you can really soak up all those precious little moments!

Good luck out there!