There are few things in life that are as good as mom’s cooking.
That’s why Fox News Digital gathered food and kitchen management tips from real-life moms who have a passion for bringing families together with delicious meals.
Here are eight tried-and-true secrets in celebration of Mother’s Day.
Stephanie O'Dea, a certified life coach and mother of three in San Francisco, California, told Fox News Digital that her "best tried-and-true ‘real mom’ tip" is to "embrace your slow cooker."
"When you are caring for little ones — it's really hard to start wielding a knife at 4 p.m. when they’re cranky and hanging all over you," said O’Dea.
"Instead, plug in the slow cooker when you are still highly caffeinated and coherent, and then you can spend the rest of the day doing whatever it is you want to do. Dinner is already taken care of and is cooking itself."
Mary Woita, a food and garden blogger at Boots & Hooves Homestead, told Fox News Digital she swears by "quality food" for her household, which includes four young children between the ages of four and nine.
"I believe that choosing [high] quality food ingredients in the kitchen can make or break a recipe," said Woita. "And this doesn’t have to break the budget either."
She said families can "save money on quality ingredients" when they shop from local farmers, farmer’s markets — or buy organic foods that are on sale or on clearance.
"Learning to grow your own food [could help], too," said Woita, from Atkinson, Nebraska. "I want to encourage many people to grow their own food without the fear of needing a large space to do so. I grew my first vegetables and herbs on my apartment balcony before I married."
Jillian Amodio, a Maryland-based social worker and mental health advocate who’s raising two elementary school-aged children, told Fox News Digital she recommends using "simple" and "fresh" ingredients in the kitchen.
"Sometimes it’s great to cook new and innovative meals, but there is nothing wrong with keeping it simple and mixing and matching simple ingredients for delicious meal options," said Amodio.
The simple ingredients she recommends include:
- Protein: Chicken, tofu, beef, ground sausage and shrimp.
- Veggies: Peppers, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and green beans.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper and olive oil.
"[These are] always a great base for a lovely meal," said Amodio. "I prefer roasting veggies with olive oil. It’s such an easy effortless method of cooking and really brings out all of the natural flavors. You can dress it up with a variety of sauces and/or pair it with various items such as pasta or rice."
Elysia Cartlidge, a registered dietitian and food blogger at Haute & Healthy Living, told Fox News Digital that she likes to take "kitchen shortcuts" when she’s cooking for her two boys.
"As a busy mom of two little ones, I'm constantly on a mission to get healthy meals on the table as fast as possible so that I can maximize the time that I spend with my family," said Cartlidge, of Ontario, Canada.
"I'll often purchase pre-peeled garlic, pre-shredded cabbage, pre-chopped kale, frozen spinach cubes, frozen cubed butternut squash, frozen fruit and no-salt-added canned beans that can quickly be tossed into various meals and snacks to cut down on prep time without resorting to more processed convenience foods."
She continued, "This allows us to better stay on track with healthy eating while also allowing me to get meals on the table faster."
Eva Clarke, the founder of the wellness platform Health Studios and a mother of three, told Fox News Digital that she used her kitchen to instill a "strong work ethic" and a desire to "give back."
She’d assign chores and kitchen duties around mealtimes, so everyone learned to cook and clean up, which ultimately helped her family grow closer and build long-lasting memories.
"My best tip to busy moms is to find a way to work with your children in the kitchen and bring out the creative side in them," said Clarke, whose company is based in Los Angeles.
"I realize we won’t all have the time to work with our children at every meal, but just one day a week is so special."
Clarke said she’s "so grateful" for all the time she shared with her kids, including teaching them how to cook, clean, budget and practice generosity and talent.
"The kitchen became a place of gathering, celebrating and creating new recipes," Clarke said. "My kids [one son and two daughters] are now older and have graduated from college. However, Mom’s kitchen is still a place for gathering and sharing recipes when they come home or are looking for a copy of these recipes."
Wendy Schofer, a pediatrician and lifestyle coach from Chesapeake, Virginia, told Fox News Digital that meal prepping helps her family make healthy dishes they can eat throughout the week.
"Meal prep does not have to be extensive," said Schofer. "As a family of vegetarians and meatatarians, we have a variety of foods to prep each week."
Sundays are their meal prep day — and they often clean and slice vegetables and store them in a fridge and pre-cook chicken strips for salads.
"Our favorite breakfast is having oatmeal with homemade applesauce," said Schofer. "We use steel-cut oats in the slow cooker and put them on low overnight. They are perfect by morning."
The oatmeal is usually topped with homemade applesauce, a bit of nut butter and a dash of cinnamon, Schofer said.
"[It’s] delicious and so very healthy," she said. "No sugar added."
Claudia Valladares, a financial adviser and blogger at Wise Dollar Mom, is a fan of grocery pick-up and delivery services. She recommends the digital shopping method for anyone who wants to save time.
Valladares told Fox News Digital she’s the mother of a preteen and a 1-year-old baby.
"Many moms dread going into the grocery store, especially when they have their children with them," said Valladares, of East Texas.
"It takes time to load and unload just the kids, so adding groceries makes a grocery run a 2-hour errand," she continued. "Grocery pick-up is a time-saver and it's free. Select your pick-up time based on the ‘less busy’ periods, usually early mornings."
Iza Correll, a pediatric health and wellness specialist who’s the adoptive mother of two young girls, prioritizes healthy eating in their home. Her daughters are ages seven and two.
"My best hack is to keep small baskets or open shelving with kid-friendly cups, a water dispenser and healthy snacks at a low level," said Correll, of Somerset, Kentucky.
"Children love independence," Correll told Fox News Digital.
"It encourages better health and hydration habits and frees up so much time for mom."