Parents, you’ve made it through summer, and back-to-school season is upon us. Whether you’re shedding a tear or jumping for joy, it’s time to get organized for the unavoidable craziness of packing lunches and busy weeknight dinners. Here are five sanity-saving tips to kick off back-to-school on the right foot.
Make a Game Plan
Take a few minutes each week to chart out lunches and dinners. Let the kids take part in the brainstorming, to make it a family affair. Taking the guesswork out of each day will help the week run more smoothly.
Dig out those lunchboxes, bento containers and ice packs. If they’re scrappy and beat-up, consider investing in new ones — lunch vessels should be clean and functional. Bentology and EasyLunchBoxes have many fun and convenient options.
Set aside some time to make a few family-friendly meals for the freezer. Falling back on home-cooked dishes like lasagna and chili when pressed for time can turn a hectic weeknight into prime family time. And don’t forget about breakfast! Batches of muffins, granola bars and egg cups are terrific make-ahead recipes.
There’s nothing worse than rifling through the fridge and pantry as the bus arrives or when the stampede of hungry kids rushes the kitchen after school. Stock up on healthy foods like yogurt pouches, cheese sticks, whole-grain cereal, unsweetened applesauce, nut butters and hummus to keep those kiddos fueled.
Keep Healthy Handy
Keep fresh foods like slices of whole grain bread, unsweetened nut butters, cut-up fruit and veggies sticks within arm’s reach. Try prepping these foods ahead for a week and you’ll see what a huge difference it makes.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.