Back to Healthier FoodPerhaps you've "gone to summer" not only with your family's bedtime and chore routine, but with eating healthy food too. And maybe it wouldn't be summer without bike riding to the local pop shop, slurping flourescent otterpops and charring sticky S'more's over an open fire. As you return from the happy chaos of summer to more predictable living it’s a great time to reset and fuel up the family with good food choices that please everyone’s taste buds. Try bringing a few of these tips we've used to your game plan for the first few weeks of school.
- Healthy Family Food List: Make a favorite healthy food list with your kids for breakfasts, home lunches, snacks and dinners. Just gather in everyone's ideas. Kids love knowing that their likes and dislikes matter. And they're more prone to help make a meal that's on their favorite list. (This tip and the one below came from favorite mother's success coach, Jacque Sorenson. Visit her website, LionessAtTheDoor.com.)
- Plan Ahead: From the list of healthy meal ideas above, plan your meals for the first couple weeks of school to free your creative mind space for other pursuits than "what are we having for dinner?" Try our Free Weekly Meal Planner Here. I've made up to 2 months worth of weekly meal plans that I use over and over. I really resisted the idea of being confined to a meal plan at first, but now I'm sold on it! You can always swap nights if plans change. None of the meals I make take longer than 30 mins to prep. I love keeping it simple while still letting my family know that their deep need for nourishment is important to me and will happen today! At our place we prepare soup and salad on Wednesday nights, with international dinners throughout the week (Indian, Korean, Hawaiian, Thai, Italian or Homestyle Mom's Cookin'). At our place, Sunday dinner is the meal that features a roast or chicken or a meat entree. Thumb through cookbooks or online for more ideas that meet your specifications. Depending on the ebb and flow of family life, I like trying something new once a month. View the clear winners on our blog HERE.
- Bulk Shop at a local retailer and stock up on non-perishable low sugar snacks that meet your approval. We've loved Stretch Island Fruit leathers from Costco, all fruit Gummy Snacks from Target and fruit and nut mixes from our local grocery store.
- Don't forget the After School Snacks! We have a family policy of saving the packaged snacks for lunches and eating something less portable for an after school pick-me-up. Try Ants on a Log, Berries N Fairies, Traveling Taco, Fruit Juice Jello Jigglers ...or one of 20 other fresh ideas in the Kid's Snacks Section of The Feel Good Cookbook. Lots of yummy low sugar snack ideas.
- Setup Breakfast: Place all non-perishable breakfast items like cereal, or rice cooker with whole grain and water to soak overnight out on the kitchen counter before bed. Line up bowls, plates and the necessary utensils. Having all the choices sitting on the countertop will prompt your older kids to make their own breakfast.
- Review Lunch Options: Most school systems have lunch menus available online. Let your kids know how many times a week or month they’re allowed to purchase lunch, and pay ahead for any lunch accounts. Thumb through The Feel Good Cookbook where recipes are divided into chapters on Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners just to spark new ideas for meals to try.
- A Little Prep: Fill up drink bottles, get lunch boxes out and decide on snacks the night before even if you can’t pack the whole lunch, saving precious time the next morning and setting you up for a quick lunch-making process.