Back to School Meal Planning
After two months of summer vacation it can be difficult to think about the reality of going back to school. There is so much to do: selecting classes, choosing a career direction, the thought of an overwhelming amount of homework, balancing a job and extra curricular activities, finding a new look and buying new stationary. It comes as no surprise that meal planning is often forgotten or put by the wayside of priorities.
Menu planning can be a very helpful tool to better organize oneself. After some careful consideration, a routine can help manage your time, money and effort. By incorporating a few simple tricks it can become possible to pack healthy, balanced meals with minimal time and ease.
Start by creating a routine
Routine doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. You can follow a routine while maintaining a variety of options. A routine should work about your schedule and personal preferences to ensure success. It can include efforts to:
- Drink 2 glasses of water in the morning to rehydrate for the busy day ahead.
- Prepare lunch in the morning before school or the evening before.
- Make quick, wholesome breakfasts full of fibre (i.e. eggs on toast with beans or protein shakes).
- Stock up on pre-made snacks (i.e. lentil cookies, protein bars, homemade granola, protein pack dips) to take to school.
- Purchase a good quality water bottle, thermo bottle, containers, cutlery, lunch box and ice pack to properly store meals.
- Cook components of meals so there is always ready-made food in the fridge.
- Always make leftovers for easy meal options.
Create a food calendar
A food calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a part of your regular calendar and updated each week to include new recipe ideas, shopping lists, and a place to keep a record of how meals made you feel.
The following calendar template will help you stay organized during the next school year:
Leftovers from Dinner
(Record name & attach recipe)
Sweet potato and black bean burritos
Lentil Meat loaf
Apple with seed butter
Hummus and crackers/ veggie sticks
How it made me feel
Asking your kids what they enjoy and do not enjoy for lunches can also help in meal planning and avoidance of food waste (obviously, only to a certain degree! We can't have pizza everyday!). By setting a routine and meal schedule, you can make school lunches a part of the day that flows and not one that makes you want to pull your hair out (because we have all been there before). Once your kids are old enough, consider including them in lunch time preparation as well!
Back to school does not have to stress you out, as long as you prepare and stay the course! Good luck!