Need to create some quick breakfasts to get out the door on a busy school day? Want a satisfying lunch to put in your metaphorical lunch box? After school snacks? Quick weeknight dinners? I’ve got you covered!
I built my food prep routine during the school year–managing the never-enough-time of teaching and all my other responsibilities. It was not an overnight habit to establish; it took me a few years to dial in all the many details necessary to make it regularly successful for me. If it’s not currently what you do but you want it to be, I encourage you to find one small step you can try this week–maybe it’s making a meal plan, or even just planning breakfast options, and putting the necessary ingredients on your grocery list. You can’t prep the food, if you don’t have it!
Advantages to meal planning, for me anyway, include always having something healthful available for my meals, reduced emotional eating/impulsive eating, and making sure I get adequate protein and produce throughout my days. I can, of course, always veer away from my prepped meals, but then it’s a choice I’m making, and the easy choice is usually just going with what I already have planned and prepared. Keeping some flexibility and listening to your body can be essential to reducing that diety, restrictive voice in our heads, though, so remind yourself that if you didn’t plan enough food, it’s ok to add more! For that matter, if you planned too much food, it’s ok to store some for later, or even just throw it away and try to keep in mind to make less next time. If you really aren’t enjoying something you planned, it’s ok to change the plan midweek! Practice making it a guideline, not a rule.
Alright, let’s get started, beginning with breakfast:
If your mornings are rushed and you want something on the go, these granola bars travel well, aren’t too crumbly to be eaten in the car, and provide enough nutrition to keep you satisfied.
I always keep some of these banana muffins in my freezer for quick breakfast options. Defrost in the microwave or toaster, schmeer with some almond butter, and get on with your day.
And it can be nice to have some protein ready to go each morning. An egg bake of one kind or another is my go-to option. This one with broccoli has the added bonus of breakfast veggies!
For lunches, I like a balanced meal that can pack up and sit in the fridge for several days without losing quality. Here’s some of my favorite ways to make that happen:
“Boxed lunch” variations can be endless. Here’s the intro “recipe” to get you going.
And at the start of the school year, when tomatoes are still wonderful, I prefer to pack up something cold like this pasta salad.
The dinner routine in our house is to make enough of something on Sunday night to last into the week a bit and then make something else mid-week. Quick meals with low prep are especially welcome at the start of the school year, which is always so busy and full of additional obligations. Here’s a few ideas that can be put together fairly rapidly.
Thin filets of fish cook in about 10 minutes and always feel like a treat to me. Here’s a simple and flavorful way to make pan-fried cod.
This Tamale Pie takes a little time to bake, but the preparation before it goes into the oven comes together in a snap.
I hope September runs smoothly for all of you. These transitional times can be a wonderful time to take on a few new, healthy habits or to reestablish habits that we’ve let slip during the less structured time of the summer. Enjoy!