Back to School.
For so many parents, “back to school” are words out of a dream. Back to school means back to routine, back to basics, getting organized.
But for some, it also means CHAOS. It means running from work to school to lessons with no time in between to eat. It means spending more money on drive through or takeout and getting burnt out before Halloween.
So how can we manage this chaos? What are some steps we can take to get on track? And STAY on track? Having a plan with regards to your meals is incredibly important to stay sane, and when it comes to food, I’ve got you covered. Here are my five favourite ways to survive back to school chaos:
No matter the age of your kids, you’re battling time constraints. Either you have a million things to do before you head out the door (You need WHAT signed right now?) or your kids are sleeping in and don’t have time to eat at all. We all know breakfast is important, especially for growing minds. I have two simple recipes you can make in less than three minutes so you and your kids can focus on packing up your bags.
Banana and Nut Butter Wrap
Simple, yes. But this easy breakfast includes protein, fibre, healthy fats, and vitamins to keep your motor running until lunch.
Spread 1-2 tbsp of all-natural nut butter on a whole grain tortilla or pita. Wrap around a peeled banana and go.
Allergies? Use sunflower or soy butter.
Freezer Friendly Egg Sandwich
Planning ahead will save you so much time in the morning. The night before (or sometime on the weekend), mix and make the following:
2 tbsp minced onion
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Salt, pepper, pinch dried basil
Don’t like tomatoes? Omit what you don’t like and add in what you do! Use any cheese, herbs, or spices and switch it up!
After school snacks need to be fast and furious. As much as I love a good veggie tray, it can be hard to get in the back of the car along with sports equipment. If you’re in a major rush to get to an after-school activity, my number one snack is fruit. It’s pre-portioned, full of fibre, vitamins, and naturally sweet. Pair with a handful of nuts and you have the perfect energy filled snack to fuel your kids.
Allergies? Try roasted chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, or rice crackers.
If you have some time on the weekend, muster the energy to stir-make these energy balls and keep them in the fridge for emergent ‘hangry' situations.
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup nut butter (or sunflower butter)
Mix it up! Add a handful of dried fruit or chocolate chips to make these irresistible!
Dinner in my house becomes almost nonexistent come September. Our front entrance becomes a revolving door, and we don’t have time to sit together at the table most nights. So how do we manage to avoid drive through? This takes preparation or having quick and easy ingredients on hand. Here are two of your future favourite dinners-on-the-go.
Breakfast for Dinner
Self-explanatory. Eggs take seconds to prepare and can be on the table (or in mouths) in minutes. Plus, everyone has a favourite way to eat eggs. Even faster? Hard boil a dozen on the weekend and eat a couple with a piece of toast or a fruit cup in the car. Yes, it might stink, but at least you’re eating!
Some quick ideas are omelets wrapped in a tortilla, a frittata made with all your leftovers, or even cereal. Yes, sometimes we only have time for cereal for dinner and a banana on the way to practice. Ideal? Maybe not. But eating and having energy is better than nothing (and certainly better than French fries supreme).
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
This one can be prepared in 5 minutes before you go to work and you have a delicious dinner waiting for you when you get home. If you have 20 minutes, you can sit down and eat this at the table before flying to after school activities and engagements.
In the morning, throw the following into a slow cooker:
1 whole roasting chicken
1 jar salsa (mild or spicy-up to you)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
Here’s the best part: If you have zero time, serve it in a container with whole grain tortilla chips in the car.
If you have a little more time, serve it on whole grain tortillas or pitas and let everyone pick their own toppings like avocado, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, hot sauce, Greek yogurt, etc.
If you have even MORE time, you can make some brown rice and serve this dish at the dinner table. No matter how you do it-this is a time saver and family favourite.
Planning is KEY.
I know you don’t want to hear it, but if you plan your meals (or at the very least know what you’re making by NOON), you’ll have a happier September-trust me.
Surviving the chaos of the September can be easy with the proper plans in place. So, before it all begins, take a little time, make some plans-maybe even have some meals in the freezer for those extra crazy nights! Whatever you do, just know, it’s only a month and you can do it. And if that means ordering pizza sometimes to save your sanity, go for it.