Preparing a family dinner can be stressful—here are a few easy solutions to make it a seamless part of your nightly routine.

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The Home Cook: Daily Menu Plans
Credit: Con Poulos

Family dinners are undoubtedly good for your family—they can reduce the risk of obesity in adolescents, home-cooked meals often provide healthier options, and time at the table can even improve emotional health of children and teens. That said, if you have a family with picky eaters or crazy schedules, making a meal every night can feel like a nearly-impossible task. So, this week on "The Labor of Love," editor Lori Leibovich called on Jenny Rosenstrach, author of Dinner: A Love Story ($22, and Dinner: The Playbook ($14, to discuss the difficulties of family dinner, and how to make the entire process easier. Here are just a few of Rosenstrach's tips:

1. Plan ahead. It sounds too easy, but go grocery shopping at the beginning of the week and plan out which meals you'll cook at home.

2. Pick one night that works for you to start. If Sundays are the easiest day to coordinate schedules between kids and parents, make that a weekly family dinner night. Once that dinner becomes easy, you can graduate to weeknight cooking.

3. Commit to being home (around) the same time as your partner. That way, one can cook while the other supervises homework, unloads the dishwasher, or handles other stressors that might get in the way of cooking dinner.

4. Say, "This is delicious!" Whoever cooked dinner should feel like they did a great job—no matter what.

Those are only a few of Rosenstrach's smart tips and easy recipes. Listen to the full episode below for all of her advice, and don't forget to subscribe to the Real Simple podcast feed on iTunes. If you have a domestic quandary you'd like us to tackle in a future episode, email, or leave us a message at (412) LOVEU-95.