The dinner dilemma

Is there an easier way to help working parents put healthy dinners on the table? Caring Futures Institute researchers are developing an app with nutrition expertise baked into recipes that are also kid-friendly and considerate of budget, time and diet preferences.

"Where are we going to put the table?” Even before kids were in the picture Jonathan and Mel knew their new home needed a room big enough for a big table. Back then, it was just the two of them but they could already see the most important details – kids eating and laughing in that big room with the big table.

Five years on and most days that’s where Jonathan, Mel and their kids Laila, four-years-old, and Isaac, 15 months-old, sit at the end of the day. Dinner preparation happens at double-speed; they have 30 minutes, maybe 45, after arriving home from work to cook, plate and feed the family. But they admit, there are also the takeaway nights, the leftovers again nights and grandma’s frozen casserole nights. 

The number of working parents in Australia continues to increase. Sixty four per cent of Australian families have two working parents and US data shows working parents have much less time to dedicate to food preparation and food shopping than their non-working counterparts. As a dietitian and nutrition researcher at the Caring Futures Institute Chelsea Mauch sees this in the families she works with and she plans to help. Under the supervision of Associate Professor Rebecca Golley, they are working together on a new tool to support Australian families. 


Image above: Jonathan and Mel with children Laila and Isaac at home in Adelaide.