Work-life balance: 5 easy dinner wins for teachers

After an exhausting day teaching, you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen – Grainne Hallahan offers some tips

Grainne Hallahan

Teacher wellbeing: Dinner hacks for teachers

There are two types of teachers: those who plan their dinners, and those who just wing it. 

But getting your evening meal back to outstanding in all areas doesn’t have to be difficult. 

Quick read: How to hack your school commute

Quick listen: Understanding the psychology of bad behaviour

Want to know more? Nudge theory: how it could help your class

You could try:

Slow cooker

Once upon a time, I was excited by new bars opening or band tour dates being released. Now, it’s slow cooker recipes that get my heart racing.

You will need a timer plug (so the food doesn’t turn to mush after being left on all day) and some cheap cuts of meat. There are plenty of delicious options for vegetarians and vegans, too. 

I strongly suggest you join a Facebook group for slow cooker enthusiasts. If nothing else, it will blow your mind how much some people love their slow cookers.

Dump bags

It sounds disgusting, but dump bags are about to save all your easy dinner woes. These environmentally friendly freezer bags save on freezer space, and are easy to wash up - you just stick them in the dishwasher (much easier than playing "hunt the discoloured plastic container lid").

On a weekend, you prep your dump bags by filling them with meat or fish, vegetables and either sauce or solid stock, and then freeze.

The night before you want to use them, remove from the freezer and leave to defrost in the fridge, and then when you’re home from work, "dump" the entire contents onto your cooking baking tray, or casserole dish. 

All your chopping of vegetables and preparing of meat has been done. 

Light dinners

If you have the option, it might be a good idea to have your main meal at lunchtime.

Having your main meal as your dinner doesn’t suit everyone, and moving it to lunchtime frees up your evening, and may even make falling asleep easier.

Lazy dinners

Lazy and unhealthy aren’t synonymous, and there are plenty of lazy dinners that are quick and easy to make. My favourite lazy meal is fish baked in tin foil with the vegetables inside.

It takes only 20 minutes, and there is minimal washing up. Batch cooking is another lazy win.


Horrifyingly, we throw away millions of pounds' worth of food every year. If you know you regularly end up chucking out unused and rotten food, have a self-audit and think about exactly what it is that ends up getting chucked. 

The easiest ways to use up odd leftovers are dishes like pasta bakes, or frittatas. Embrace the random combinations, and cut your shopping bill.

Grainne Hallahan is the senior content writer at Tes

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Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan is Tes recruitment editor and senior content writer at Tes

Find me on Twitter @heymrshallahan

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