Back-to-School Food Cheat Sheet

Nealy prepares back-to-school food for her family

It’s that time of year again: back to school! How nuts is it that yet another summer has come and gone. BBQs and picnics with friends are about to be replaced by focusing on back-to-school FOOD! During the pandemic last spring, I was so overwhelmed with cooking for my stay-at-home crew that I learned how to do things a little differently when it comes to food organization and discipline. Whether school is remote or back in person, here are some you can make things easier on yourself without compromising nutritious meals. 

1. Let Kids Take On Responsiblities When They Can

The kids have started making their own breakfasts! Even my 9 yer old can scramble an egg. C’mon people, it’s not rocket science. It’s also a great way to teach your kids basic kitchen skills, which later become life skills as they learn to become more independent and responsible people. Getting kids to take on kitchen responsibilities not only takes off the burden on you, it genuinely helps them for the future! A win-win! 

2. Get Creative with Leftovers

Having leftovers doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the same meal from the night before and it doesn’t equal boring! I plan lunch using leftovers from dinner the night before but jazz it up into a new exciting dish. Create meals like a snazzy chicken salad with leftover chicken, a fancy bolognese with last night’s burgers and a soup using leftover veggies. If you’re racking you’re brain on how to transform leftovers into a new fun meal, try a few of my leftover hacks!

3. Evenly Delegate Duties

One or two nights a week the kids and hubby can cook! Warning: if you do this make sure they know that a little fairy won’t appear to clean up after them later. It’s also a great idea to communicate with your partner beforehand so they can plan ahead on days you need a break. Try a few of my top kitchen organization products that will keep the cooking area neat even after a stampede of kids and a husband tear through it.

4. Be Prepared for Snacking By Keeping It Healthy

There are 3 things in life that are certain: death, taxes and my 4 kids coming home famished always looking for a snack. This is where staying prepared comes handy. Despite my persistent influence, my children are just as likely as any to reach for candy over kale, or simple carbs instead of a high-powered protein snack. I’ve discovered many fun and easy snacks you can prepare in advance to ensure both their brains and bellies are satisfied, while sneakily teaching them good snacking habits along the way. 

5. Save Time With This Chopping Hack

My secret to staying on top of things is planning menus where I can prep once for several dishes. For example, cut up 3 onions instead of 1 and use them for 3 dishes. The same goes for baking, chopping and freezing at the beginning of the week. Later you can use them out for meals the next couple of days. It means you get to do it all at once and get it over with while significantly reducing cooking time later in the week after a long day of work. Trust me, there are several benefits to menu planning. Work smarter, not harder.

Extra Credit: Breakout the Takeout

It’s okay if every now and then you give yourself a break from planning, prepping, cooking and cleaning by ordering takeout. It’ll be a treat for the family but also a moment to rest. Then you can be the best parent in other ways. Even if you just buy ready-made food from the grocery, it’ll save you time and energy. Try my rotisserie chicken hack if you need to grab some grub quickly on the way home!

Are yours staying at home with remote learning or going back to school? Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with staying sane during the back-to-school madness.