‘Relieve some of that ‘back to school‘ stress with some easy meal prep each week! It doesn’t take too much time or effort to prepare HEALTHY & nutritious meals for your kids. Preparing breakfasts and lunches each week will change your life!’
The 2016-17 school year is officially in full force! We said our final goodbyes to summer vacation last week when this one started 6th grade… boy oh boy… where did time go???
Throughout the past few years in the fitness industry, you’ve heard over and over again how prepping your own meals (lunch, snacks, etc.) is a huge life saver when it comes to staying ‘on track’ right? Time, effort, stress, money, and anxiety are usually spared when you do even the slightest bit of food prep at the beginning of each week. Also, when you have food ready to go at a moments notice, it will usually prevent you from throwing curve balls and sabotages into your nutrition plan. Why should it be any different for our kiddos? Short answer to this question?
It SHOULDN’T be any different!
Clearly your kids nutritional goals will be different than your own, but the basic principles still stand. Striving for overall health, balance of macronutrients, and a steady stream of energy is what we should ALL strive for, children included. Sadly, a HUGE number of kids will either go to school hungry because parents leave breakfast up to their kids to handle and/or they will start their day with food that:
#1 contains little to no nutritional value
#2 provides a big burst of sugar ‘energy’, but will cause your kids to crash by the time the bell rings
Now I know, I know. Busy parents have ALL been there at some point. The alarm goes off on a Monday morning and after a couple of snooze hits you roll out of bed to get the day going. You are already running late, kids get to the kitchen and nothing is prepared yet, they yell out to you asking “What’s for breakfast?”, and you snap back with “Grab yourself a bowl of cereal!”. Now while I am a huge fan of cereal (I eat at least one big bowl a day), most breakfast cereals are high in carbs (great for energy to start off the day), BUT are very low in healthy fats and protein. Not the most balanced of meals & macronutrients, but it sure is handy and quick… especially in the morning when you are still half asleep. Why not change the typical morning routine and get your kids off to school with a full nutritious belly?
Last school year I decided enough was enough with scrambling each morning and from the very first week I started prepping my kids breakfasts my life was forever changed! Not only was I able to sleep in a bit longer during the week, but there was no stress or anxiety or complaining when it came to breakfast. I’ve already shared quite a few breakfasts ideas here on my blog, but this year I’m taking things a bit further and *hopefully* sharing our ENTIRE school years worth of breakfasts (and lunches)!!!
First you will need to invest in some handy food containers. These are wonderful to have on hand for the entire family! Great for meal prep and eating on the go. I like having some variety with sizes and these are my favorite from Amazon:
So for our first week back at school, my daughter narrowed it down to breakfast tacos!!! God, I love her. This is perhaps one of the EASIEST meals preps ever… I think these FIVE days worth of breakfasts too me under 10 minutes from start to finish!
- Mix 1 cup plain/organic MuscleEgg egg whites, 2 whole eggs, and a splash of milk in a blender
- Cook scrambled eggs on low heat for 3-5 minutes (add salt/pepper to taste)
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese
- Divide eggs into containers
- Add pre-cooked turkey sausages (I use Jimmy Dean from Costco)
- Add small corn tortillas
- Let cool, cover, and stack in the fridge
Each morning if I wasn’t already downstairs all my daughter had to do was go to the fridge, remove the tortillas, microwave the eggs & sausages 30-40 seconds, and throw in the tortillas for the last 10 seconds. Healthful, filling, and balanced breakfast eaten BEFORE I even make it downstairs! Yeah, pretty awesome huh? I’m telling you… ONE time prepping your kids weekday breakfasts and you too will be HOOKED!!!
And…. I have even better news for you my friend! How about in addition to my breakfast shares, I throw in her SCHOOL lunches as well??? Again, I’ve shared pics of my daughters lunches on Instagram many times before, but for years now I’ve been wanting to have them all in one place. Not only will it help me track what she’s had, liked, and disliked, but it will also hopefully take some guesswork and stress off YOUR plate! Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks do NOT need to be extravagant to be balanced, fun, and delicious, but us mommy’s need all the help we can get… takes a village right? Let me help & inspire you a bit if you need it!
Let’s talk lunch containers! For 5 years, my daughter was using a Planet Box which we absolutely ADORED! It’s pricier than other bento style boxes, BUT this one will last you FOREVER! It’s so sturdy, extremely well made, won’t stain, has enough compartments for a balanced & varied meal, and is the perfect size for little fingers.
However, this year I needed to try something different because her new backpack & lunch box wouldn’t accommodate the Planet Box anymore. Sniff sniff 🙁 I didn’t have a ton of time to look for a replacement, but stumbled on an option at Vons/Safeway the day BEFORE she started school! It was inexpensive (only $10 in store), the right size for her lunch box, and the compartments were big enough for larger main portions she now eats.
And here is WEEK 1 of school lunches… play close attention to the main dish in each:
** Pineapple, blueberries, Trader Joes cinnamon apple sticks, rice crackers, and a taco salad (leftover meat from Sunday night’s taco dinner, romaine, spinach, cucumbers, peppers, salsa, avocado, and lime juice). **
** 1/2 avocado with fresh lime, cherry tomatoes, grapes, Annie’s honey graham crackers AND BBQ chicken, peas, sweet potato fries, and cornbread (ALL leftovers from Monday nights dinner) **
** grapes, strawberries, cheddar cheese, rice crackers, dried apples, pretzel chips, cucumber, and a whole grain turkey wrap (leftover from Tuesday nights dinner) **
** mandarin orange, 1/2 granola bar, 2 chocolate coconut cashews, and teriyaki chicken, rice, and broccoli (leftovers from wednesday nights dinner) **
** Trader Joes cinnamon apple sticks, carrots, grapes, 1 Belvita cookie, and a ground turkey quesadilla (last of the prepped meat from Sunday and cheese on a freshly cooked flour tortilla) **
Notice the trend in the main dishes for her lunches? Yup, ALL leftovers from the previous nights dinner! How’s that for stress free prep, time saving, and healthy?! As soon as dinner was done each night I would reserve her lunch portion and freeze the center snack compartment. Then each morning I would slightly reheat the main dish (to luke warm), add snacks, and fill her water bottle! Healthy lunch made in less than 2 minutes!
Week 1 of school for us was a complete success in every way possible! We were able to sleep in longer, my daughter got a healthy start each day, and there was absolutely ZERO stress in the mornings. Not once did she come home famished because her snacks and lunch were balanced & full of all things good for her. Easy, simple, and one of the BEST routines that has become habit for us! Meal & food prep for the kiddos… LOVE!!!
Stay tuned for the rest of our school year! If you have any ideas, suggestions, or tips that have been useful to you, PLEASE don’t hesitate to comment & share! I would love to add them into our routine! If you are on Pinterest, be sure to follow my new “Meal & Food Prep For Kids” board… never miss an idea!
And here are all of previous prep weeks right at your finger tips:
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