Summer is winding down (sorry, I had to say it!) and Fall is right around the corner. This new season brings many families back to a busy routine with school back in session and extra-curricular activities multiple nights during the week. Reset your home and your kitchen to start the new school year off right. As the new school-year approaches here are a few tips for Back-To-Busy Success:
Prep fruits and vegetables!
I know you’ve heard this a million times, but if you make one change this school year to help with the busyness wash, chop, and store those colorful fruits and veggies so they are ready to eat raw or cook with little to no prep. There are some fruits, such as berries, that should be washed just before eating, but so many of them can be prepped ahead of time. Not only will this save you time for meals and snacks, but you’ll be feeling good when you enjoy more fruits and vegetables.
Don’t go overboard with meal planning
If you meal-plan already and it works for you, then skip to the next tip! But for those of you who could use some help in this area, stay with me. One of my favorite ways to meal plan is to write out my meals on a scratch sheet of paper. Don’t label it with the days of the week- just the meal names/components. This way you can select what sounds good for dinner during the week vs feeling forced you have to eat the one meal selected for that day. In addition, give yourself a “Clean out the Fridge Night”. This allows family members to select what they want to eat based on what you have available. This is a great way to get rid of leftovers and reduce food waste, too! Lastly, when it comes to meal planning, be sure you are aware of what you have going on each night. If you’re hopping from piano lessons to baseball games then to girl scouts, you might need a bento-box style to-go meal vs a big meal at home.
The hungry kiddo snack plate
Do your kids come running to the kitchen saying “I’m hungry!” soon before dinner is ready? Before the meal is served, offer up fresh cut vegetables and some dip (such as ranch or hummus) on a plate on the table. This allows parents to be in control of what is offered, AND (most) kids will start snacking on them to tide them over until dinner is ready. This is a great tip to encourage more consumption of produce in our households.
Create fuel stations
Fuel stations in your kitchen are food-storage areas (such as the refrigerator and the pantry) where kids (and adults) can easily reach for nutritious snacks and meal components. Reorganize your food storage areas with better-for-you options that can make snack time and packing those school-lunches MUCH easier. For example- your pantry might have fruit cups in 100% juice, dried fruit, and whole grain crackers. Your refrigerator might have yogurt, fresh cut fruits and vegetables, and protein that is prepped and ready to eat.
Give yourself grace
Being busy is hard and no one is doing it all. Remember to do what works for YOU and YOUR family- don’t try and do everything that an influencer on Instagram is doing. You’ll find a routine and gain confidence in feeding your family.
Wishing you all the best in this next season of change!