Going back to school means parents need to have three meals and snacks a day shopped for and organised. Shopping well is vital to a stress-free school start for parents. Most skipped meals or poor food choices come from not having the ingredients at home. The meal planning experts from the Plan, Buy, Cook meal planning app share their seven tips for a stress-free back-to-school week.
7 TIPS FOR A STRESS-FREE BACK-TO-SCHOOL WEEK
- Plan your meals around your busy nights and less busy nights.
If you look at your week and see which nights are busy and which nights are less so, you can cook more complicated meals when you have a little more time and keep frozen homemade meals for when you don’t get home until close to dinner time.
- Do one big shop so you have all the food you need for the week in the house.
Take 10 minutes a week to plan out all your meals, involve your kids in the process, then do a big shop so that you have everything at hand when you need it
- Get a great start to the day with a nutritious, filling breakfast.
The whole family should kick-start the day with a good breakfast, and the best options include cereal or muesli, toast or, if you have time, eggs. Kids can make their own bircher muesli which is fun and easy for them to do the night before, and they can add their own ingredients to suit their tastes.
- Incorporate a few serves of vegetables into the lunchbox.
With around 200 school days a year, many families are preparing 400–600 lunchboxes each year, which can be a struggle. Sandwiches are always great, but work on incorporating a little variety into the lunchbox. Use leftovers for your main lunch or add something new a few times a week. Lunch is also a great time to incorporate a few serves of vegetables into your children’s day, so choose ones that are easy to handle and not too messy such as carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes or cucumber rounds.
- Bake some lunchbox fillers in bulk and freeze them.
Muffins, muesli bars and savoury scrolls work well.
- Cook freezable meals and double the portions to store extra meals for busy nights down the track.
The real trick to saving time in the kitchen is use the freezer for more than just storing frozen vegetables, ice and meat.
- Marinate some meat when you get home from shopping rather than freezing it straight away.
Marinate some of your meat when you get home from shopping and then freeze it so when you need it you are defrosting already marinated meat. On the day you want to eat it, take it out of the freezer in the morning and you can simply put it on the barbeque that night and do some salad and you have a home cooked, tasty meal in minutes.