kitchen hacks for busy families

Parent and child making fresh pasta in the kitchen.

When it comes to running a busy household, the idea is to work smarter, not harder. To give you a little help in that area, we’ve rounded up some of our best kitchen hacks and the genius appliance features that make them possible. From getting dinner on the table faster to making clean-up as effortless as possible, here are some ways to maximize your time in and out of the kitchen, so you can do more of the things you love.

Make convenience foods more convenient.
Feeding a busy family has its own set of challenges, but the biggest has to be finding the time to prepare meals. Even so-called “convenience foods” can be inconvenient for the time-pressed, but you can shave off precious minutes with Whirlpool’s Frozen Bake feature which lets you skip preheating when cooking foods like frozen pizza, French fries, and chicken nuggets. If a big pot of pasta is more your speed, a 17,000 SpeedHeat burner on the cooktop provides higher temperatures for faster boiling.

Juggle a staggered schedule with ease.
If activities are pulling your family in different directions and preventing you from eating dinner together, you can ensure everyone in the family gets a hot meal by taking advantage of the oven's handy Keep Warm feature. Just place serving temperature food in the warmed oven and it will be kept hot until the last family member has been fed. This is also a great feature to use while entertaining, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.

Stay connected with smart features.
With the handy ThinQ® app on your smartphone or tablet, you can stay connected to your wi-fi enabled LG electric range and perform a number of handy functions without running back to the kitchen. Start the oven from the nursery, check on the roast from the den, or set a timer from anywhere—you can even do it all hands-free with the help of Alexa or Google assistant. The ThinQ app will also notify you via your device when your food is ready and when it’s time to clean your oven, a task that can be performed without harsh chemicals or high heat, thanks to the EasyClean® setting that uses plain water to loosen drips and spills.

Create a healthy lunch station.
Packing lunches can be one of the most stressful parts of parenting school-age kids—even more so when the thoughtfully-prepared, nutritionally-balanced lunch comes back barely touched or deemed “gross.” While there’s myriad reasons why a lunch can get rejected, one way to better your odds is to let your kids get involved in packing their own lunches by creating a self-serve lunch packing station.

During the school year, a dedicated fridge shelf or pantry drawer, like in this Whirlpool 4-door bottom mount fridge, can be used to corral a selection of pre-portioned items that the kids can choose from. At the beginning of the week, make sure the station is stocked up with pre-washed, cut up veggies and fruit; containers of hummus or dip; crackers; cheese sticks or wedges; rolled or stacked and cut deli meat; yogurt cups or tubes; trail mix; granola bars or energy bites; or any of your child’s grab and go favourites.

In the morning (or the night before), set out the lunch bags and let your kids build their perfect lunches. The younger ones might need a little supervision at first, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly they become little lunch-packing experts. This is also a great trick for kids who are home learning, especially if you are working from home and their lunch and snack breaks don’t coincide with yours.

Save time with Measured Fill.
When you’re in a hurry or have your hands full, waiting for water to dispense can seem like an eternity. With Whirlpool's handy measured fill feature, you can place your cup or container under the spigot, select how much water you want to dispense, push a button, and walk away. You can select the amount in ounces, cups, or litres and the fridge will dispense exactly the amount of water you need while you do other things with no danger of overfilling. This is also a great hack for measuring water for recipes—never “dirty” a measuring cup just for water again!

Stock up and shop less often.
According to The Whisk on, the average person spends around 130 hours per year grocery shopping. That’s a lot of time spent doing something most of us would rather not do! An obvious solution to the problem is to do larger shopping trips less often, but that only works if your fridge can accommodate the additional groceries or you buy fewer perishables. Thankfully, appliance manufactures have answered the call with fridges that are not just bigger but have smarter storage configurations.

This LG French door fridge has 30 cubic feet of food storage to ensure plenty of room for family groceries and party snacks, and the interior shelving can be easily reconfigured after a big shopping trip or before the holidays. Plus, the Slim SpacePlus® Ice System is built into the refrigerator door to help maximize shelf space and allow more space for door bins.

Of course, buying more food means relying on the fridge’s cooling systems to keep it fresher, longer. LG’s answer is to use multiple cooling technologies to provide even, consistent cooling throughout the fridge—even in vulnerable spots like the door. As well, the clever InstaView feature helps reduce heat loss by allowing indecisive family members to get a peek at the fridge contents without holding the door open!

Do more with your microwave.
If you are only using your microwave oven for reheating leftovers and making popcorn, you’re missing out on some great hacks for getting dinner on the table in less time and with fewer pots and pans. Using your microwave for meal preparation can also help keep your kitchen cool in the summer and free up burners when you’re multi-tasking a big holiday meal.

Did you know that you can cook rice in the microwave? Pour 1 1/2 cups rice, 2 1/4 cups water, and a pinch of salt in a microwave safe container or pot, preferably with a vented lid. Cover and cook on full power for five minutes, then 50% power for 15 minutes. Keep the lid on and let rest five minutes before fluffing with a fork.

You can also prepare summer’s favourite side dish—corn on the cob—without heating up the kitchen or dirtying a pot. Simply place one to four ears of unshucked corn in the microwave, then cook on high for 3–5 minutes (3 mins for one or two ears; 4 mins for three or four ears; add an extra minute for softer corn or very large ears). Let stand on a metal rack or cutting board until cool enough to handle, then quickly shuck and serve with plenty of butter. The husks will retain some heat, so your corn will stay hot and ready to eat for several minutes.

Get some help with the dishes.
Even during the weeks when you see the delivery guy more than you see your partner, there never seems to be an end to dirty dishes. The good news is, there are some helpful hacks for tackling this time-consuming chore and getting you out of the kitchen faster.

Once again, LG is to the rescue with its ThinQ smartphone app. Use the app to connect to your LG wi-fi enabled dishwasher and do your dishes from, well, anywhere! Using the app, you can easily check on the progress of the cycle or start a forgotten load without having to return to the kitchen. NFC Tag On technology also allows you to download new wash cycles or personalize cycles with your own cleaning cycles. Combined with the EasyRack™ Plus system, you’ll have full control of every load you run—from pots and pans to dinnerware and glasses.

If you prefer your dishwasher to do some of the thinking for you, Whirlpool’s sensor cycle can help! Smart sensors measure temperature and soil level during prewash and the wash cycle, adjusting settings automatically for the perfect wash. You can also select Delay Start to allow the dishwasher to run during non-peak hours, setting it between one and 24 hours in advance, so that it doesn’t interfere with your family’s busy schedule.
We hope that we have given you some food for thought with these smart kitchen hacks. To make sure you don’t miss helpful content like this, along with advance notice of our best sales, subscribe to our emails.