Figuring out what the heck to pack in lunches, making dinnertime decisions, and stocking up on grab-and-go breakfasts happens to be a top priority in many homes, including my own. See also: packing lunches suck. It's a fact that mealtime prep can be a messy, time-consuming business.
Since I love spending time in the kitchen (and because it’s a great opportunity to let my six-year-old flex his stirring skills), we designate our Sunday afternoons to preparing meals for the week ahead. To avoid wasting food or having mealtime meltdowns, I include him in meal planning so I can be mindful of his preferences. Plus, we make it fun by making it a weekly activity we do together. Once everything is ready, we package and label to make our weekdays easier.
We keep this handy chart on the refrigerator. Feel free to print and use it for your family! It helps my son follow a guideline when packing his lunch, but also gives him the freedom to choose what he really wants to have for his recess snack, his lunchtime meal, and his after school treat.
This is the plan I usually follow each meal-prep Sunday:
For my son, I often make a big batch of oatmeal, banana or chocolate chip pancakes on Sunday and simply pop them in the microwave or toaster to warm for him on weekday mornings. We also like homemade muffins, baked oatmeal bars and overnight oats for quick, yummy breakfasts.
Even though I love to make things from scratch, it’s not always possible and sometimes, I just don’t have time to prepare a hot breakfast for myself. I love to have PC Blueberry Greek Yogurt with Overnight Oats with a spoonful or two of PC Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds sprinkled on top. Paired with a coffee on hurried mornings, it’s the perfect easy breakfast (or afternoon snack) to have at my desk.
I make a quinoa and tofu stir-fry every week for myself and then I mix it up with sriracha at lunchtime and freshly squeezed lemon juice at dinner.
My son’s favourite food is pizza, and the PC Piadina Italian-Style Flatbread makes a fantastic mini-pizza crust for quick, DIY dinners, or fun lunches at school during the week. I grate cheese, chop vegetables and meats for him and store in little containers so we can simply throw our meals together when we get home. Plus, by packing the ingredients for him, I can create a homemade version of "Lunchables" with the foods we both love.
We have long and often busy days, so it's always a treat for me to sit with him at our dinner table and hear how his week has gone. We try to recognize Taco Tuesdays, Whacky Wednesdays (breakfast for dinner!), and we almost always have homemade nachos on Friday.
My son and I pack our lunches every night before bed, and with lots of options in the fridge and pantry that we can simply grab and choose from, it’s easy and takes only a few moments. My son likes to choose his own special treats for recess and after school snacks, and we both like to pack homemade cookies or one of these muffins for a delicious and filling snack.
Since I only roll up my sleeves in the kitchen once a week, it's important that the fruits of my labour be as versatile as they are delicious. These muffins make a perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert and can easily be customized to suit your family's tastes. Mine rarely last long enough to see the freezer, but they do freeze beautifully and can be stored individually so you can grab-n-go during busy weekdays.
This recipe includes what is easily the most popular grocery item in my house: PC Organics Steel Cut Oats! We make our own version of “shake and bake” chicken, I mix ‘em with Parmesan cheese and mayo to make crusted haddock or halibut, we mix them into cookies, banana bread, muffins – you name it. The steel cut oats are my fave, but be sure to check out the entire PC Insiders Fall Collection because they have a ton of great, new options that will get you excited about creating your own weekly meal plans and recipes!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup PC Organics Steel Cut Oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 mashed bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
Add-In goodies (optional):
1/2c. chocolate chips, shaved coconut, berries, nuts, or any other yummy item you wish to add
1 ripe bananas, thinly sliced and drizzled with coconut oil
1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, sugars to sprinkle on top
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease muffin tin or prepare with liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients until fully mixed.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well to combine (no need for a mixer, a spoon will do). Your batter should be thick, but runny.
Fold in any add-in goodies, if using. Can't decide? Add a few different things, just make sure your add-ins don't exceed 2/3 cup.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each liner or tin.
Top with sliced banana, drizzled with coconut oil, and sprinkle your cinnamon-sugar mixture, if using.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is dry when removed. Allow to cool in tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove and devour. Enjoy!