dad kid cooking

Cook Once, Eat Twice

January 3, 2024 General /Family

In a Dinner Bind? Cook Once and Eat Twice (or more!)

By: Bridget Swinney MS, RDN, LD

It’s 5 pm, your kids are asking what’s for dinner and you have no idea! Do you ever feel like there’s just no time to cook? That’s when we usually turn to fast food or take out — which is more expensive and less healthy than home-cooked.
Luckily there is a solution to this problem. Cook Once — Eat Twice. You can do this with any cooking technique, but when you combine it with using a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or air fryer it’s a double win!

Steps to Cook Once, Eat Twice

Plan ahead. This step is vital because you need to have enough food on hand to make at least two meals out of what you cook. Start by writing out some meals your family likes. A balanced meal has a protein food, a vegetable or two, and a starchy food like potatoes, corn, peas, brown rice, pasta, bread or tortillas. If you want to try something new, check online for meal-prep ideas.

Protein foods are a big step in planning as they take longer to cook. These are especially good
cook-ahead proteins:

Leftover Ideas for All Types of Protein:

chicken salad

Rotisserie, baked or roasted chicken

You can eat it as prepared the first night, with quick to make side dishes like microwave potatoes and a cabbage or cucumber salad. Here are ideas for another night (or lunch to go).


Roasted brisket, ground beef, or pork

First serve with sweet potatoes and green beans (or other veggies), cooked in the microwave or stovetop.


Vegetarian Nights

Cook your favorite dried beans or lentils in the slow cooker. Beans are super healthy because they’re rich in iron, B vitamins, protein and fiber. Lentils don’t need soaking and cook quickly. Eat them the first night by themselves or over brown rice. Beans are also great with a sprinkle of grated cheese. Ideas for leftovers:
tuna casserole

Canned tuna or salmon

Stock up on tuna or salmon when it’s on sale and you can make lots of dishes! You can also use any cooked leftover fish to make the following recipes.


Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: