Plan Ahead to Handle Your “Back to School” Life

27 08 2015

Back to school means back to reality for every teacher, child and parent. The days become packed with bus schedules, Cathy head shothomework, and after school sports. As a parent of two active children, I know this week has brought the challenge of my crazy “back to school” life front and center! I have had to change my routine to accommodate the needs of my family, and making sure everyone has nourishing, tasty meals that fit our schedule is a big part of the challenge.

Planning healthy meals and snacks for four people running in four different directions is like doing choreography for a Broadway musical! But my kids know their routine now. They walk sleepy-eyed into the kitchen each morning and create their breakfast of choice (usually whole grain cereal, skim milk and juice). My daughter and I go over the school menu each month to choose what days she will “bring or buy” her lunch. This way I know when to prepare her lunch the night before. Both kids are very active in sports, so they need healthy, fuel-up snacks packed as well. Depending on work and evening events, my husband and I figure out some way to take turns getting a healthy meal on the table, or packing food to take with us to sporting events. In amongst all of this, he and I pack our own lunches and snacks for our work day, and squeeze in some exercise for ourselves.

Sounds like a big job, but being organized and planning ahead can take the pressure off having to make spontaneous and often unhealthy decisions. Just like you plan your day for your children, plan your day for yourself. Take time each weekend to jot down your plans for the week. Check everyone’s schedules and don’t forget about your own! If mornings are tight, try a grab and go breakfast like a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat, or a granola bar (not the kind that are candy bars in disguise!) and a glass of milk. Pack your lunch the night before. Relying on fast food is unhealthy and expensive. I find it works well to prep something that will last for a couple of days, or just plan something simple that hits all your food groups- protein, whole grain, fruit, veggies, and dairy or water. Don’t forget to pack a snack for that mid afternoon slump- an apple and some string cheese can do the trick. Then always plan ahead for a family dinner if you can. If we can’t eat together, we eat in shifts and join each other in the dining room for conversation as everyone comes home. This is a time for children to learn healthy eating habits as well as good social skills. (We will save some killer meals for busy families for another blog!)

So start by planning to pack some healthy lunches and snacks in the upcoming week! Here are some fresh, new lunch ideas from Popsugar Fitness:

Veggie Hummus Sandwich:

Healthy Chicken Salad:

Cucumber Caprese Salad:

Fresh Burrito Bowl:

All of these recipes make multiple servings, and they are easy! Make them ahead, pack them up, and fuel your body right!




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