Getting back into routine with meal planning
The transition from summer vacation to back to school doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when everyone is excited to bounce back into a more normal school year. With all the chaos of getting back into the things we love, like birthday parties, hockey practice and swimming lessons, meal planning is a great tool to keep organized.
Getting ahead of your family’s meals will make it easier to grocery shop and answer that nagging question of “what’s for dinner?” while getting your kids out the door, faster. Here are a few helpful tips to get you back into routine.
Make plans with your kids. According to Canada’s Food Guide, there are many health benefits to getting kids involved in the meal preparation and cooking process, including giving them increased confidence and self-esteem and improved reading and math skills. This comes thanks to reading recipes and measuring ingredients, and the development of a greater understanding of what foods are good for overall health.
If you have some picky eaters in the family, involving your kids in meal planning can even make them more likely to eat and enjoy their foods. So, involve your little ones in the process by asking them to help decide which favourite recipes and snacks to prepare for the week before you go to the store.
Prep/simplify your ingredients ahead of time. Aim to prepare or cook your meals on Sundays (for Monday to Wednesday meals) and Wednesdays (for Thursday to Sunday meals). If you don’t have time to cook, consider pre-chopping vegetables and fruits or preparing your meats with seasoning ahead of time and placing them in the freezer for later use. This will help reduce prep time during the week and save you time when packing lunches.
Think beyond the sandwich. Shake up your typical sandwich and try a bento box instead. These lunch kits are such a great way for the kids to have fun and get creative with mixing up their food options. Having the different sections in the lunch kits will also help ensure that you include food from all food groups, providing the essential vitamins and minerals needed for energy, growth, and development. Consider trying a themed bento box, like an Asian noodles-inspired box and start with rice noodles and seaweed.
Learn more on preparing nutritious lunches and snacks and get great recipe ideas by speaking to your local Loblaws registered dietitian. Book an appointment at bookadietitian.ca.
– News Canada