Back to school, Back to work & Back to a busy schedule
Planning is your key to "Back To School" success. Healthy bodies need healthy "fuel" three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A balanced diet of three meals a day and a little exercise sounds conceptually simple, however add school, homework, sport and WORK into the mix, and we have a recipe for health and budget "melt down".
Providing healthy meals five days a week can be challenging, especially when some of those meals are not even in the home. However, I believe it is super 'doable' with planning.
Look at proteins first, they are packed full of nutrients. Beef, pork or lamb 3-4 times a week turn your evening meal into a balanced meal. Other protein options include poultry, eggs and legumes.
But how do you know if a meal is healthy and nutritious and where can you get recipe inspiration? Don’t complicate it! Use wholesome family favorites and employ healthy cooking techniques such as less butter and oil, and try char grilling rather than pan frying.
Check out my 10 easy tips and tricks for success
- Plan weekly dinners around healthy family favourites so everyone looks forward to the meal.
- Plan school and work lunch boxes around weekly dinners. Cook a little more at dinner and put aside for lunch boxes.
- Use wholesome leftovers for the lunch box. Having a yummy meal for lunch will prevent overspending and overeating during the day.
- BALANCE; look at incorporating local nutrient rich seasonal produce and portion size. When produce is abundant and in season it is less expensive.
- Halve the amount of oil and butter when preparing meals, healthy can be far from boring.
- Once you have your plan buy in bulk at the start of the week. This will prevent you running in and out of stores for one item or being tempted to grab an unhealthy expensive frozen meals or take away.
- AVOID takeaway during the week, this adds an unnecessary weight to your weekly budget and waste line.
- FRESH is best! Shop once or twice a week or use local weekly fresh home delivery so you can spend more time preparing meals with the family and not out at the shops whilst the kids lay around at home waiting for food. When kids are waiting for food they are more prone to eat snacks and not eat the wholesome meal you prepare. When the family does not eat the meal you’ve prepared, that’s simply money down the drain.
- AVOID overly complicated recipes during the week. You are tied therefore prone to throw in the towel and order pizza! Simple fresh easy meals are the way to go.
- AVOID dining out during the week; this disrupts your whole routine. If you need to get together with friends, go to each others home and contribute a healthy component of the meal. This way everyone enjoys the evening with minimal fuss. We all need a healthy balanced routine to function at 100% at work and school. Late nights with unhealthy food are not the way to achieve this outcome. Dining out is great on the weekends when its time to relax and have fun.
Healthy is far from boring
The days of believing that healthy food has to be boring and bland have thankfully long since passed.
Meals will be naturally healthy and enjoyable when you use:
• Mainly fresh, unprocessed ingredients
• Flavour with fresh herbs and spices
• Fruits and vegetables that are in season
• High fibre, wholegrain or lower GI carbohydrate foods (such as whole grains, pasta, basmati rice, brown rice, noodles and sweet potato)
The key to a healthy, wholesome meal is BALANCE!
There is a simple rule to apply to any meal to ensure it is balanced, healthy and delivering you and your family the vital nutrients we all require.
When plated or combined (as in a stir fry) aim for your meal to have:
• ¼ beef or lamb (trimmed of fat, unless already purchased lean)
• ¼ carbohydrate (e.g. sweet potato, brown rice)
• ½ vegetables (at least 3 different types of vegetables)
You don't need to change a lot to have a proper dinner
Using the principles of balance outlined above, you may find that with little or no change, your current dinner repertoire is brimming full of healthy and delicious recipes.
A little help – what to buy, what to cook and how to turn it into a healthy dinner success
Using our Seasonal Butcher Boxes you will find a minimum of 6 meals that can be for lunch or dinner or can be used to get you through to your next delivery.
Having healthy fresh local produce in your fridge automatically saves you time, money and improves your chances on making a healthy meal choice each and every time.
If you prefer to drop into the store, these same items are available each and every day. We also have a changing selection of meal ideas if your planning went a little “hay wire” and you simply see a better alternative. All our ready-made meals are wholesome and made daily with fresh local seasonal produce.
One of my family’s favourite healthy meals in #MyCountryKitchen is Vietnamese Beef Salad. Why not check it out and put it in next weeks Meal Plan? Makes a wonderful dinner and a fabulous Lunch Box treat. This is just the recipe to set you up for a healthy "Back To School" journey.