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Back to School Survival Strategies & the Value of Time

Aug 18, 2015 | Meal Planning, Subscriber Spotlight | 0 comments

For kids, August means the last days of freedom before school starts. For parents, that means something completely different. The easy, breezy days of summer are replaced by the crazy, hectic days of lunch packing, homework doing, sports playing, activity-filled days (and nights) of school. And somewhere in there, you have to eat!

I recently received an insightful email from a customer that was in response to the question, “What is your biggest meal time challenge?” I had to share it with you!

Rachel is a mom with a full-time job. She, not surprisingly, replied that her biggest struggle is time. She is up by 5:30 every morning so that she can exercise, make breakfast, get herself and her child ready for the day, and go to work. She usually returns home by 5:30 pm and outlines she can either:

Without Prep Dish

5:30-6:00 Cook dinner (half an hour).

6:00-6:30 Eat dinner (half an hour).

6:30-7:00 Play/read with child (half an hour).

7:00 Start child's bedtime routine.

OR

With Prep Dish

5:30-6:00 Reheat and eat a pre-made dinner (half hour).

6:00-7:00 Play/read with child (hour).

7:00 Start child's bedtime routine.

While 30 minutes may seem like a small amount of time, the extra time with her child is as she says, “Worth its weight in gold, and can be the thing that makes or breaks her week!”

Rachel is a big fan of meal-prep Sundays. She does all of her cooking/meal prep during nap time and after her child’s bedtime. Taking this extra time upfront gives her the free time in the evenings that she needs for both herself and her child. She also likes to utilize one item, like a baked chicken, for more than one meal so she is cooking only once. Such a great timesaver!

As you head into the crazy, hectic back to school routine, give Rachel’s meal-prep Sunday a try. Carving out even 30-minutes for family mealtime is so important. It’s been shown that families see increased communication with their kids, improved relationships all the way around and decreased risky behavior in their tweens/teens. Additionally, children learn better eating habits that last a lifetime.

We encourage you to try these time-savers as well:

  1. Prep breakfast for the week. It’s easier than it sounds and is such a time saver! Try making a batch of muffins, loaf of banana bread, or prepping the ingredients for a breakfast hash and all you do the morning of is top it with an egg!
  2. Prep a week’s worth of snacks, so the grab and go is easy in the morning. Snack-sized baggies are a lifesaver for this! Try making your own trail mix or air-popped popcorn and portioning it out for the week. You can also pre-portion nuts (like almonds), fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries) or veggies (carrots, peppers, cucumber, celery).
  3. Don’t forget lunch – for both you and your kids! Salads are wonderful to layer into a storage container and pull out each day to take to work or pack in your kid’s lunch box.

What are your favorite back-to-school survival strategies when it comes to meals & snacks? 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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