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Back to school, back to healthy meal planning

Posted By Meal Five, Friday, September 1, 2017
Updated: Friday, September 1, 2017


The back-to-school ads are in full swing, and we’re weeks away from packing that first lunch and loading everyone on the bus. It’s back to the back-to-school routine. Heavy sigh. In some ways, it’s hard to get back to the routine. In other ways, you look forward to it.


For working couples with kids, summer is particularly challenging because while the kids have the summer off, the parents don’t. Summer becomes a matrix of summer activities and camps strung together with a prayer that they will all be dependable and fun for their kids. The only “vacation” in summer vacation for mom and dad is usually the last 2 weeks of August because you can no longer sign your kids up for anything. Everything is closed or shut down to get ready for the next school year.  

For couples who have one parent at home, summer is a driving nightmare. Getting your kids to and from their activities at the height of road construction season is a serious test of your patience. There is no opportunity to focus on anything because every 45 minutes you need to be someplace you’re not and nothing really ever gets done. 

As the summer goes on, the kids go to bed later and get up later, and by mid-August you need to do the equivalent of getting them adjusted to a new time zone. The only vacation for you is putting the little darlings back on the bus in the fall. 

But no matter what the situation, it seems that by the time the school year comes around, everyone is ready to get back to it. The routine.

The transition to the back-to-school routine is almost as serious as the New Year’s resolution. We focus on better work/study habits, we try to eat better and improve our overall performance. It’s new pencils, new shoes and a new chance to do better. Even mom and dad see it as an opportunity to improve things.

One of the things that changes big time when we get back to the routine is our eating habits. Gone are the days of lunch at 3 and dinner at 8:30 or 9:00. Now we need to think ahead and plan so dinner can happen when it needs to happen.

Meal planning can be a hard routine to get back to after 3 months of barbecues and burgers, but it’s a very important core value necessary for your kids to feel and do their best. There is no way to avoid “you are what you eat” when it comes to good performance in and out of school.



Here are 4 meal planning strategies that can help get you back in meal planning mode or get you started for the first time.

  1. Design your meal plan based on the weather.
    Don’t know where to start? Try the weather. Is it going to be 70 degrees and sunny or 50 and raining? Pick simple recipes that fit the situation. Be sure to include healthy snacks and lunch stuff. Make your list, go grocery shopping, and you’ll have what you need to execute the plan.
  2. Design your meal plan based on your schedule.
    Be realistic about how much time you have each night to cook. If you’ve got 3 kids in 3 sports, you will have to make something that can be done start to finish in 30 minutes or less so you need to prep the meal early so you can finish it faster. Choose simple recipes (5 ingredients or less), grocery shop, and you are set for your week.
  3. Divide and conquer meal planning.
    Split forces. One person does the grocery shopping, one person cooks, the kids do the dishes. It takes effort to make good food and everyone needs to pitch in. If one is running the kids around to activities, the other is getting the meal done. Every meal that gets made goes through the same 3 steps: planning, shopping and cooking. The more you plan ahead, the easier it is to cook. Ask the kids to help with the planning. Find a simple cookbook that has simple, healthy meals that are done in 30 minutes and let them pick what they want. If you give them a say in what is going to be on the table, they will have a better attitude about cleaning it up… sometimes.



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  4. Use meal planning tools.
    There are lots of resources out there that can help you get a good meal on the table. Technology is your friend. Find a meal planning website that offers healthy video recipes for fast and easy learning. Subscribe to one that does all the healthy meal planning for you. Many sites are surprisingly inexpensive and simplify the process so that you can get dinner on the table consistently.

Having a healthy, tasty dinner most nights does not have to be hard. Don’t let the concept of home cooking intimidate you. You don’t need to get fancy or complicate it. Instead, go for simple and fresh. If you buy good ingredients, most of the work is done for you. A great dinner can be a sautéed chicken breast, fresh blanched broccoli and a good baguette. No need to overthink it.



It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food, and unfortunately, that is difficult in America. We have too many choices and a lot of them are bad. The only way you really know what’s in your food is to prepare it yourself. Develop the habit of meal planning and create a back-to-school resolution to make the habit a priority.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to share it with a friend, please do. At MEAL5.com, our mission is to help people improve their eating habits and their health with simple, easy recipes and healthy meal plans. They are offered in Quick Cooking Videos that are easy to learn from. Thank you for taking time to read this article. Eat well. Get smart. Love life.

Source from MEAL5.com


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Tags:  cookies  event planning  health  healthy 

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