The new school year is just days away at our house. It marks the end of informal meals where we eat whenever hunger strikes and whatever sounds good in the moment. I do love the unstructured days of summer.
With the approach of a more regimented mentality for mealtime during the school year, it pays off to do some planning. This always makes the transition much smoother. Prepping the kitchen ahead of time is a worthy endeavor because a well-fed body and brain will only make the school year that much more successful. Right? Right.
Here are a few tricks that help us shift into the routine of planning meals during the school year:
- Make sure everyone’s lunch gear is still usable, including ice packs, thermoses, and water bottles.
- Since our boys pack their own lunches, we remind them of the items that are a “must” each day (vegetables and protein), as well as the ones that are optional. Our approach to helping our boys combat lunch box envy is allowing them to take a small treat each day. We discuss acceptable treat items and make sure they’re around for the first day.
- Hunger levels vary at breakfast time around our house, so we make sure to have some on-the-go choices available. The Weston A. Price Foundation Shopping Guide is a huge help with choosing food we don’t make ourselves.
- Everyone is famished when they get home from school, and there’s always the risk that the boys will gorge to the point of not being hungry at dinnertime. If we make sure their favorite healthy snacks are at the ready, they’ll grab them without even thinking about it.
- Lastly, dinnertime meal planning. We let the boys help choose what we have each night so they’re more excited about eating it. They’ve even started looking in our collection of cookbooks and going online to find recipes for dishes they love. The idea of prepping a make-ahead freezer meal over the weekend to eat throughout the whole week (or longer) has piqued my interest too. In theory, it seems brilliant and simple. We’ll see how it goes when I put it into practice.
One of my favorite things in the whole wide information universe is hearing the solutions other people have discovered to seamlessly move from one phase of life to the next. I am cuckoo for simplicity! So tell me, what are your favorite tricks to prep your kitchen for the school year?