It’s that time of year again, where our lives get turned upside down and all around. It’s BACK TO SCHOOL TIME! There’s snacks and lunches and dinners and homework to get done, the backpacks need to be packed and a good nights sleep is a must for all!
When we went to school, we learned about managing our time by breaking down assignments into smaller chunks so that we didn’t get overwhelmed at the last minute and unable to finish tasks. Why is it, as adults, we forget to do that when it comes to everyday tasks?
For instance, what happened to making sure our family has proper lunches and snacks for school and work? Instead, we end up with things thrown together in lunch bags such as store bought granola bars, cheese sticks, crackers and maybe, if they are lucky, an apple or another fruit. Our lunches become, a fast food joint which contains nothing but unhealthy trans fats, highly processed food and a lot of white stuff – buns, bagels, breads, rice, etc.
Dinners? Forget about it!
Lets go back to school ladies. Here’s your first homework assignment, broken down into smaller bits to get you and your family into eating healthier snacks and homemade dinners again. It’s all about preparation!
- Monday and Tuesday – Make a meal plan. Write out 7 days of the week each with breakfast, snack 1, lunch, snack 2 and dinner in each column. Have your kids help out with this. Younger kids can fill out a days worth, older kids can get a copy of a whole week and fill it in with their favourites. Husbands can get a meal plan as well. Give them some rules: NO take out, must have at least 2 fruits and 4 veggies each day AND something homemade, everyday (this doesn’t include sandwiches with white bread and luncheon meat)!
- Wednesday – Take all the meal plans and make 1 meal plan for the week. Save all the meal plans you get for future reference.
- Thursday – From that meal plan, check your recipes, check your cupboards and fridge and make your shopping list.
- Friday – Go shopping! make sure to take your list with you. If you don’t have it, go back and get it! Stick to the list and don’t stray from it!
- Saturday and/or Sunday – Prep all the veggies and fruits by washing, peeling and cutting up what you can so that they can be easily grabbed and put in containers for snacks and lunches. At the same time, your veggies can be cut up for some of your recipes. Things like onions can be cut up for your recipes that week (store them for up to a week in a mason jar so that you can just grab it and you only need to cry once). Some fruits (apples, pears, nectarines, etc) can be washed and be ready to eat right out of the fridge. Berries should be washed only when you are ready to consume them.
- Now you’re ready to start Monday off with the most organized meals you have ever had!
Other helpful tips:
- Make double the recipe and freeze in smaller containers for another day or for lunch the next day.
- Buy bagged/washed salads – an easy way to get in some veggies.
- Make sure you change up the veggies and fruits you and your family eat every day. Colours of the rainbow is a great way to make sure you’re getting all your nutrients for the day. Today I Ate A Rainbow is a great way to get your kids to a variety of foods!
- After the first week is done, the prep time will be less. As you make meal plans, you can save them and rotate them.
- Set aside 1 hour a week to prepare all your veggies.
- Set another hour aside for meal plans.
So there you have it, a way to make your back to school life easier and more organized.
Now ladies, go do your homework!
Frances Lea is a wife, mother or two beautiful girls and a Holistic Nutritional Consultant. Since becoming a nutritionist, she not only changed the way of life of her own family, but of those around her. To read more about Frances, you can find her here.