It's no secret I am all about the meal prep in simplifying healthy living. Once you can get into a routine of prepping your food ahead of time (in a way that works for you), nothing can stop you on your journey to living a healthier life! Whether you need full meals prepped to avoid the drive through, or you simply need healthy snacks on hand to avoid grabbing for junk- there is always room for meal prep in streamlining meals for yourself and your family. Is there ever a better time for us mamas to get into a meal prep routine (or re-start your meal prep routine) than the start of a new school year?! Stacking one change onto another might seem crazy, at first- but sometimes the best way to create a new habit is to combine it with another new routine (like the start of school). Convinced yet? Here are four ways meal prep can simplify your back to school routine:
1. Make breakfasts a breeze. Anyone else feel the stress of trying to get little humans out the door, not to mention make sure mama is washed up and nourished (and daddy, well, daddy can fend for himself!). Just me? Can't be-- and mine is just in preschool! Throw in an hour-earlier wake up call, lunch boxes to fill and what do you mean today is color day and your only red shirt is in the laundry?! and breakfast is the last thing on your mind. But breakfast should be the FIRST thing on your mind when it comes to nourishing healthy kids (and healthy moms!). A healthy breakfast sets you up for a healthier day. Meal prepping breakfast ahead of time can mean the difference between an alert, happy kiddo and a lethargic, distracted kid who really can't stop thinking about lunch long enough to absorb spelling words. Some of our quick breakfast favorites include veggie-packed egg muffins, chia seed pudding, easy to prep smoothie bags, and protein-rich greek yogurt parfaits. All which take little time at the beginning of the week-- and are basically grab-and-go in the morning. Breakfast, done.
2. Reduce lunch box stress. If your kiddo is anything like mine, her preferences for what she wants for lunch change on a daily basis. And if it were up to her, she'd eat sliced cheese and berries all day long. Reduce the stress of packing a lunch box using my healthy lunch box formula to pre-pack all the components you need for a healthy lunch (like fruit, veggies and snacks) and you can focus on making the main part of the meal, and getting out the door! Extra points if you make a quinoa salad or something you can throw in their lunch quickly, as well! 3. Simplify after-school snacks. I don't know a single kid who doesn't come home from school hungry- ravenous, really! Instead of giving your kids free range of the junk drawer, make some simple and healthy homemade snacks like veggie jars, power balls, homemade trail mix or muffins, instead, to tide them over until dinner (And avoid the pre-dinner "I'm huuuuungry" whines. Ok, no guarantees- but this will put you off to a better start!).
4. Make weeknight meals come together in no time. If breakfast and lunch were hard enough early in the morning, throwing together dinner after a long day, with starving kids and a hungry mama often feels like a feat- and with sports, music class and other extracurricular activities moving mealtime closer to bedtime, the drive thru has never looked so appealing. But meal prep means you can make your OWN convenience. Prepping a meal to throw in the crock pot in the morning means dinner in 5 minutes-- everyone has time for that! Or, making a big batch of shredded chicken to last multiple meals, batch prepping on Sunday so that meals are just heat-and-go, or even just having ingredients on hand for meals that come together in 10 (and I'm not talking hot dogs and macaroni and cheese!) make weeknight meals happen, FAST, and wouldn't you prefer fast and nourished over quick and damaging? We all know 'fast food' isn't good for us. But fast food has a whole new meaning when it's coming from your home kitchen.
I promise- those couple of hours at the beginning of the week are WELL worth it, for a healthier, happier school routine.
Want to learn more about how you can make meal prep work for you and your family? Check out my Healthy Mama Meal Prep Course. This self-paced, 20-lesson video course teaches you the ins and outs of meal prepping and meal planning- in a way that works for YOUR life. Find out more by clicking here. Not a part of my email list yet?? Go ahead and join for an exclusive Back to School deal on my meal prep course, this month!!