Back to school means back to busy for most families. If you have kids in after school care who have art lessons, football practice, piano lessons, dance practice, or any of the other million activities that come when school starts up, feeding everyone can start to become a huge pain.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Taking a few hours out of your week, maybe on a Sunday evening or Saturday morning, to make sure you have healthy meals planned for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week long can help you eliminate the stress related to mealtimes.
Healthy Meal Planning Tips
Before we get to specifics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are a few overarching tips to healthy meal planning that will help get you started.
First, think about how the weekly schedule looks for your family. Is there a night you’ll need to grab dinner as you go so there should be something easy to serve, such as a crockpot meal? Is there a night everyone has at home so you can have a full sit down dinner as a family? The last thing you want when no one gets home for dinner until 7:30 is to have to spend an hour cooking that meal. You’ll be much happier if it's been cooking all day, or is premade and just needs to be warmed up.
Second, make sure you have easy meals and emergency meals made for nights when things go wrong. Maybe you have a sick kid and there isn’t going to be that sit-down family meal on the night everyone has off. Having a frozen casserole as an emergency meal in the freezer will make your life easier when you are tending to your sick little one and not worrying about also making everyone else dinner.
Last, but not least, if you have new meals you are preparing, make sure you make note of them. If you have a recipe folder for printouts, or a file on your computer, or even a place on Pinterest that you can keep successful recipes so you know to add them into your rotation, you won’t forget about a new meal your family liked.
Healthy Meal Planning For Breakfast
When you think about meal prepping, most people think about dinner. Once the kids go back to school though, there’s another hectic meal: Breakfast! Typically, this is the only other meal your family has together. Mornings are rough, especially when kids are getting back in the school groove— why not meal prep for breakfast?
To make sure they are getting healthy food, have fruits and veggies on hand they can grab themselves, like bananas or apples or slices of peppers. Premake some sausages that you or your kids can just pop in the microwave to warm up in the morning. Hard boiled eggs that are pre-shelled might be a lifesaver for you in a morning pinch. There are many breakfast casserole recipes as well that can be frozen or premade to help make the back to school morning rush easier.
Healthy Meal Planning For Lunch
Do you pack lunch for your children every day? Do you have a child in preschool that must pack a lunch to take with them? Here are the easiest steps you can take to pack a healthy lunch:
- Think about this when you’re making your dinner meal plan as well. Perhaps you could use the leftover roast chicken you made for dinner one night as the protein in your kids’ lunches. Or make a couple of extra (smaller) turkey burgers they can eat without a bun.
- Veggie and Dip
- At the beginning of the week, you can pre-cut some veggies and put them in containers for lunch for the week. You can also make a healthy dip to go along with them.
- Pick an easy fruit for your kids to open or eat, or pick a fruit that won’t turn in the hours it spends in the lunch box. You can pre-slice an orange and it will still look delicious at lunchtime
- Find a healthy snack, maybe a granola bar or some thin cookies, you can put in their lunch too. That way they won’t feel like they are missing out on the dessert that their friends might have in their lunches, but you still feel really good about the nutrition they are receiving.
Healthy Meal Planning For Dinner
One of the best tips to keep in mind for dinner is to plan for leftovers. Consider making a roast chicken that will allow for your family to eat the leftovers within the next couple of days.
Leftovers can also be a great way to save money for the working adults in your family. Instead of going out to eat for lunch, pack your lunch with last night’s leftovers. Not only will you save money, you’ll likely eat a much healthier lunch as well.
For more information on how you can help your whole family eat healthier, and how to improve your overall health and wellness, call the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center today. They are experts in not only chiropractic pain management, but also weight loss, healthy living, acupuncture, and many other wellness topics.