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Back to School: Meal Planning Tips and Strategies

Aug 20, 2014 | Meal Planning | 0 comments

family enjoying a meal

These back to school tips can help you get a healthy dinner on the table even on the busiest of nights. Simple & practical tips!

The summer is winding down and all across the country people are shifting gears and getting ready to head back to school. For many people this means a return to busy lives and stressful schedules. It can be difficult to maintain clean and healthy eating habits when time is short and the temptation to lean on the convince of processed foods is high. Prep Dish is here to help! Here are my top tips for fitting healthy, whole foods into your schedule.

Plan ahead

The best thing you can do to save your sanity and keep you on track is to plan ahead. Having a weekly meal plan in place before the craziness of Monday morning comes will help to ensure you're not left hungry at the grocery store at 6 PM struggling for ideas. Whether you make the meal plan yourself or use one of our easy to use plans and shopping list, be sure to take a few hours on in your off time to set yourself up for success at the beginning of the week.


Front load the work

Pack snacks and lunches ahead of time and do your kitchen prep on your shop day. Portion out snacks into travel containers to toss into back packs such as nuts and dried fruits or try my popcorn snack baggies. Chop your veggies all at one time so they are cleaned and ready to use for the week and pack up containers of lunches for easy grab and go in the morning. Eliminating stress from the morning routine can help keep things running smoothly and stress free.

For dinners, make-ahead any marinades, sauces and salad dressings. Pre-chop veggies and prep meats so all you have to do at meal time is toss dinner in the oven. Grains can also be made-ahead. For example, rices (brown rice, wild rice, black rice) and quinoa. Use a rice cooker to make grains super quick & easy.

Make sure you're well equipped

Take an inventory of your travel containers and water bottles and be sure you have every thing you need to provide everyone with healthy meals and snacks. Have at least 2-3 containers and water bottles per person so there is always a clean set to use and spare if someone loses one or leaves a lunch box somewhere. Be sure to have quality insulated bags and cold packs as well as travel utensils. Here's an article on my must-have containers & labels (I even buy these containers and labels for all of my personal chef clients!).

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Do you have any tips for fitting in healthy cooking during a busy season? Share your ideas and pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as @prepdish in all 3 places, or leave a comment below.

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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Learn more…

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