As someone who thrives on routine, I'm not going to lie... I welcome this time of year! That doesn't take away from the fact that there is nothing more that I love than spending time with my kids ~ it just means that I also enjoy an environment where we all have things to do, learning to enjoy & goals to set, work on & conquer!
We're fortunate to get the extra day with Labour Day Monday: this makes for a shorter week to plan & adjust ;-)
Okay the point of this is to save time, so let's get moving!
1] MEAL PLAN This determines what is on my food shopping list & is the foundation for our week. I look at our family calendar to see Kid 1's track schedule, Kid 2's soccer schedule & my own events calendar. Dad works erratic hours and is on his own schedule and fortunately, he loves whatever we make for him to eat!
Only after I have reviewed the week can I plan well the family weekly menu because time will dictate what we should eat on each of those days.
I also like to plan our more complex meals on slower nights or... do some of the prep work for one night on the night before.
2] GROCERY SHOPPING Hopefully you were able to get your grocery shopping done prior to the holiday!
It's interesting how our grocery shopping list has evolved... it used to be heavy with boxed, canned & frozen items but is now focused on fruits, veggies, nuts & legumes!
I need simple in my life so there are 4 columns: Cold, Dry, Fresh & Miscellaneous [dog food, garbage bags, laundry]
I used to also hit every isle which also crunched my wallet. Since our healthier choices, I start in the fruit & veggie section, move to the organic section & then skip most isles only going down them for specific items like pickles, canned tomatoes or things like that.
It's amazing how aware we become of the food we buy when we actually read ingredients lists!
3] FOOD PREP I like to start off by washing, peeling & cutting my veggies: carrots, celery, cucs, peppers, kale & broccoli. I'm evening peeling & cutting my ginger to put it in a sealed jar for quick grab & gos for my water & tea!
I don't peel my fruits like apples, oranges, avocado but I wash them all up, again for that "fast food" benefit. Think about it, a handful of grapes & a banana go a long way after school because here's the reality... this is fast food! And it's HEALTHY fast food compared to sugary granola bars, salty & greasy crackers &... it won't fill them up too much before dinner because we want them to eat dinner right?!
4] BAKING We don't buy granola bars in our home bc of a few reasons: a) they're mostly sugary crap: even most of the "healthy" ones; b) the waste they produce is HUGE!
I like to make time for baking & today, I'm making a chocolate zuchinni brownies!
I make it a priority to make 1 desert treat each week because everyone likes a lil' something sweet and this way, I know what's in it [plus, I like to add veggies & extra fibre]. My kids have learned the taste difference between sugary cardboard processed stuff over homemade goodness!
I also like to make power balls too ~ they're simple & quick to make & they're great for breakfast & lunch grab n gos!
For some meals, you can load up your garlic, onion, chopped veggies into a single container: I like to use the flatter bottomed ones so that I can scrape out my sectioned garlic & onions to sauté first.
Maybe 3 out of 5 of your meals will look like this which is a HUGE time saver! The other two meals may have only one ingredient [cauliflower cashew soup is a great example because you're soaking your nuts separately]
In closing, meal prep does require us to set aside time on Sundays [or Mondays for the long weekend ;-)] but I've come to really enjoy this time. I invite my kids to join in and help out which helps them to development those skills & appreciation for not just the food, but for investing in themselves that time, for learning a life skill to prepare wholesome foods and for learning about the real value of healthy foods! They don't partake every Sunday but I'm making this a goal of ours because truth be told, some of the best conversations I have with my kids is during food prep ~ it's a very inviting environment, the music is playing, you can enjoy a glass of wine or tea & learn to enjoy the meditational gifts it offers <3
I hope those tips help you & if you have others to share, please feel free to comment below <3
Here's to a healthy start to the 2019 School Year!