Labor Day is just around the corner and with that comes the unofficial end to summer. It means our lives are getting busier as we get back into a school routine filled with activities. Do you find yourself stressed out? Evenings during the week can be chaotic as we juggle carpooling to and from activities. It can be difficult to find time to feed our families healthy choices. Who has time to cook a homemade dinner every night? When time is short, convenience usually wins. Maybe that means your family goes through a drive through for dinner. Or perhaps it’s another night of pizza.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other though. It is possible to have convenient healthy choices for our families amidst a crazy schedule! The key is to plan ahead and do some prepping for the week. Putting in 1-2 hours of work on the weekend can save you so much time and sanity later in the week. Here are a few of my favorite time saving tips and tricks that are sure to save you stress this season:
- Utilize online grocery shopping! You can opt to pick up the groceries at the store or have them delivered. This is my secret weapon on extra busy days.
- Wash, dry and cut your produce so that it is easy to grab and go. Broccoli and cauliflower, for example, are much more likely to be eaten if they are cut up and ready to use.
- Prep strawberries so that they are ready to be eaten. Take the calyx off of the strawberry by pushing a straw through the base of the berry upwards. Involve your kids! They love helping with fun tasks like this.
- Think “mini.” Mini bell peppers, mini cucumbers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes etc. These foods don’t need to be cut and can be easily enjoyed.
- Maximize meal prep day. Make big batches of key ingredients like proteins, grains and veggies one night so you can easily reinvent leftovers for lunch or dinner the following days.
- Pre-pack snacks for the car or for on the go. Add fresh cut up veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers to a plastic bag. Grab individual containers of hummus or guacamole for dipping. For a sweeter treat, fills bags with fruit like berries and pair them with hardboiled eggs or cheese sticks. Apple slices and peanut butter are always a favorite in my household.
- Buy a couple of nutritious low sugar bars to keep in back packs, lunch boxes and your purse.
- Prep while you sleep: overnight oats or chia seed puddings are a great way to get a delicious breakfast ready with minimal effort. Prep the night before and in the morning top with crunchy nuts and sweet berries for an effortless and nutritious breakfast.
- No bake energy balls are a family favorite! You can truly customize to meet your family’s preferences. My kids go crazy for chocolate chip and peanut butter with chia seeds.
- Use a slow cooker! Nothing is easier than throwing ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning. Dinner will be ready to enjoy as soon as you get home.
- Smoothies are super easy and quick to make, plus they allow you to sneak in a few more veggies into your child’s diet. Keeping pre-portioned packs in your freezer for even more ease. Just add the liquid and you’re ready to blend. This green raspberry smoothie bowl sneaks spinach and avocado into your child’s snack as well as half an apple and sweet raspberries!
I know we are all looking for ways to get ahead of the whirlwind of life. What tips work well in your family?