Once the fall begins, kids are back in school, sports resume and days are packed with activities, homework and full time jobs, it can be difficult to make time to prepare yummy meals. In order to stay on top of breakfast, lunch and dinner, here are some of the tips, tricks and recipes we've found to be both delicious and speedy.
Employ the appliances.
One of the fastest ways to prepare a nutritious meal is to use a blender. Just throw in some fruit, veggies, yogurt and other goodies to create an instant breakfast that will fill tummies and require minimal time and effort. By using a blender, you'll also have less dishes, a travel-mug ready meal and a tasty treat your kids won't know is actually good for them. Plus, there are hundreds of different flavor combinations and ingredient options to choose from so you can accommodate everyone's favorite flavors and incorporate healthier foods into everyone's diet. Try some of these top kid-friendly smoothies to make putting breakfast on the table a synch.
Get your kids involved.
It's hard to do it all before everyone needs to rush out the door in the morning if you're working solo. However, if you have kids, then you already have helpers at-the-ready! Get everyone in your family involved in the morning meal-making routine by printing off this helpful lunch packing guide. Depending on your childrens' ages, you can prep the food groups so all they have to do is grab a handful here and there or if they're old enough you can leave it entirely up to them.
The best part of the all-hands-on-deck method is that you'll save time and be able to teach your kids how to create their own wholesome and nutritious lunches. You'll also give your kids the knowledge of how to maintain a balanced diet and manage more responsibility around the house.
Foods that can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and thawed when needed are a busy mom and dad's lifesaver during hectic weeks. On a slower-paced weekend or school night, prepare a bunch of these freezable sandwiches in bulk and stick them in the freezer. Then, all you need to do on a school morning is take them out, pop them into a lunchbox and send your kid to school. By the time lunch rolls around the sandwiches will be thawed and you won't have to worry about keeping perishable ingredients at food-safe temperatures. Whether you want to stay classic with PB&J's or get a bit fancier with chicken cordon bleu, there are a bunch of tasty options that will save you time without skimping on flavor.
Prep, prep, prep.
Prepping food can save so much time on busy days! By slicing, dicing, chopping and pureeing ahead of time, all you'll need to do is grab a handful of whatever you need to put into a recipe, individual-sized tupperware container or sandwich. One idea we really love is to prep salads in mason jars. Layer in the ingredients like you would with a trifle and then just hold off on the dressing. This way, you can grab a jar, stuff it into a lunch box or dump it out onto plates for family dinners. It's the perfect solution to tight schedules and continuing to eat right no matter how chaotic weeks become. Read some helpful tips about how you can go about prepping food so that you're prepared for whatever busy weeks can throw at you.
Size up your recipes.
If you're going to take the time to make a lasagna, why not make two and freeze one for later? The same goes for practically any freezable dinner like soup, baked pasta dishes, pies, cookies and even casseroles. Or if you plan on eating leftovers later in the week, simply save any recipe in the fridge.
Making bigger batches will take a little more math to size up on the portions, but it'll be well worth it when you're too tired to cook and need to put something tasty on the table. Try some of these large and in charge recipes that keep well and can feed a crowd.
Make your crockpot your sous chef.
With a crockpot on your side, you can prepare all of the ingredients the night before and simply pour them into the crockpot in the morning. Then, you can set the timer and come home to a home-cooked meal! Since there are a ton of delicious crockpot and one-pot recipes out there, we found the top 45 pinned favorites out there for you to try. From vegetarian options to meat-lover meals, you'll be able to mix up what you serve every night and never dirty more than one bowl!
Keep your pantry stocked to minimize grocery store trips.
Most of the time, going to the grocery store is a pain. However, if you pick up the practice of keeping your pantry and freezer strategically stocked, you can avoid these last-minute trips to the grocery store when you don't have time to spare. Follow the expert guide and you'll be ready the next time you need to scrape dinner together in a hurry without having to leave home.
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