With the school year fast approaching I’ve had meal planning on my mind. During the summer I’ve been pretty casual about our food but I realize that won’t work with Sophie heading off to kindergarten. I actually have to plan and prepare…dang.
Recently I’ve been trying to simplify my life. I can only do so much and only want to do so much! I don’t get excited about complicated recipes and meal plans. These are a few of my ideas in relation to simplifying breakfast, school lunches, and after school snacks.
For a while now, I’ve depended on boxed cereals for breakfast. In an effort to save money and be more healthy, I’ve tried to make more homemade goods. Especially with Sophie going off to school, I want to make sure she gets a good breakfast. I am not an early riser, so all of these breakfasts are pretty fast and simple (or prepared ahead of time). We usually have breakfast with 100% orange juice or milk and fruit (and occasionally hard-boiled eggs).
- granola with milk or yogurt (this is a deluxe recipe and lasted us about two weeks; I added some items like ground flax seeds and left out some like dried fruit; I may fiddle with the recipe to make it more healthy)
- whole grain waffles with homemade berry sauce or maple syrup (I make a large batch of these on the weekend to keep in the fridge, then we toast them in the morning – tons of other healthified recipes from this website)
- oatmeal breakfast to-go bars (if we’re rushing out the door – which is likely; haven’t tried this recipe yet, but anything like this)
- oatmeal with walnuts or pecans
- muesli (haven’t tried this yet with the family, but want to – from a kid-friendly recipe blog)
Truth be known, I am horrible at packing lunches (Eldon can attest to this). I think I was ruined when my mom made us pack our own lunches at a young age (you did the right thing, Mom, but I still didn’t like it).
I have come across lots of articles on healthy lunches for kids, and honestly, I’m overwhelmed by them. Sure, I like the idea of providing a ton of variety, leftovers, everything homemade, etc., but that’s too much for me to think about.
Sophie and I figured out the following flexible plan (this is according to Sophie’s preferences, and she can be pretty picky):
- sandwich: meat and cheese or peanut butter with honey (half a sandwich)
- fruit: 100% fruit strips from SunRype, cut up apples, blueberries, or mandarin oranges (according to interest and season)
- veggie: edamame (shelled) or green beans (cooked)
- snack: Wasa Crisp & Light crackers, Somersaults (sea salt and sunflower seed crackers), Nut-Thins (pecan or almond), or Garden Veggie Sticks
- treat (optional): homemade
I like the idea of making everything from scratch, but some items, like crackers, are really so much more convenient from the store. These are the ones I have listed above. They are healthier alternatives to regular crackers and the kids like all of them.
After School Snacks
I like grab-and-go items like the following:
- nuts and dried fruit (the girls like making their own mixes)
- fresh fruit
- dips, such as hummus, yogurt, or peanut butter with pita chips/pretzels
- fruit smoothies
- popcorn (we love our Whirly Pop)
- raw veggies with ranch
- mozzarella cheese sticks
A lot of my ideas were inspired by my Flexitarian Diet book. It encourages eating more plant-based, whole grain food. I thoroughly recommend it for its simplified approach.