Heading back-to-school brings a new level of chaos to many families. After-school sports, homework, and more structured days can add up to a family face-off with tired parents and hungry kids. We've compiled 5 tips to ensure that your school night meals earn an A+. After all, well-fed families are happy, healthy families.
Wrap It Up
Healthy meals are easy to wrap up with whole grain tortillas, fresh veggies, and your choice of protein. For quick meat-based wraps, prepare shredded chicken or pork on the weekend. Chickpeas, seitan, or hard-boiled eggs are great vegetarian alternatives. Shred lettuce, carrots, and radishes to add a bit of crunch and a dose of veggies!
Stock Up on Basics
Create a list of must-have basics for your pantry to ensure that you're never left empty-handed at mealtime. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and beans are quick to fix and can be combined with fresh or frozen veggies for a fun "mix-it-up" meal. For example, dried beans can be tossed into the crockpot in the morning (no soaking required!) and then mixed with frozen corn and brown rice for a speedy Southwest meal.
Study Up on Dinner Ideas
Gather the kids around the table and hand out index cards. Have everyone jot down their favorite meals. Punch a hole in the top, and attach with a binder ring. You've now got a "cliff notes" version of meal planning! For chaotic weeknights, you'll have inspiration at your fingertips.
Reach for Ready Made
On some nights, convenience is king. Rather than pulling through the drive-thru, stock the cupboards with a few ready-made packs of noodles or rice. Check out this suggestion from Lifetime Television's The Balancing Act for using Yakisoba Noodles to prepare an Asian-inspired meal that doesn't require calling for take-out. Chopsticks are optional!
Fall Back on Class Favorites
Homemade pizza, loaded baked potatoes, and supper salads are all nutritious meals that can be assembled in a flash. Offering up a selection of toppings allows you to cater to individual tastes without becoming a short-order cook. Stock the freezer with frozen veggies to ensure that you'll always have a rainbow of colors on the table.