We’ve all been there: we finally got our peaceful summer routine in order and it seemed like it was going to last forever! Come September, we are so “funned out” and exhausted from those long days running after the kids in the sun that we haven’t the energy for those early school mornings, lunchbox preps and everyday prompt family lunches. Here are some tips to ease you into those first days of school:
1. Plan ahead: in my opinion, meal planning is one of the most underrated tools of our modern time. But setting aside 10 minutes over the weekend to decide what the main meals, snacks and treats are going to be for the week ahead and then creating grocery lists around these will ensure a much smoother week. If you know what you are buying, an online order is only a few clicks away!
2. Come prepared: if the prospect of spending hours in the kitchen with 3 hungry children screaming from the dining room sounds daunting then meal prep is a must. For me, it goes hand-in-hand with meal planning and most preps can be made on Sunday while the kids are winding down at home. I usually prepare two grains (by soaking them in water and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup before cooking) that can be used as a side for stew, over salads and as a meal component mid-week. My favorite are quinoa and bulgur for their versatility. I also make sure I have two legumes prepped (these you can soak and boil in large batches then freeze in portions). My favorite are chickpeas and lentils. I always have at least one snack made on Sunday (think crackers) that can also double-up as a lunchbox item or even breakfast.
3. Have fun with it: being a mom has taught me that sometimes it is not about the actual food but the shape it comes in! So, if you are making crackers, use fun cutters that come in animal or heart shapes or if making a cake then use a teddy bear mold. Trust me, this will go a long way towards having content mealtimes regardless of what food you choose to make.
4. Build that immunity: to make going back to school easier, let’s avoid getting sick, shall we? Get yourself and your kids into the habit of having immunity-boosting foods everyday and not just at the first sign of sickness. Raw honey, turmeric, black pepper and grated ginger is an elixir I swear by and is sure to keep the sniffles away!
Sana Toukan is a Nutrition Health Coach and a mother of 1 who made Lebanon her home 3 years ago after living in London and Dubai. She is a passionate cook and prepares almost all meals at home which is what prompted her interest in learning more about healthy food and how to make balanced meals for the whole family. Sana is a strong advocate of lifestyle changes including shifting to whole foods and fitness to change one’s overall well-being, having achieved this over the years for herself.