By Caroline Mackey, RNCP, ROHP, CNP, PTS
It’s that time of year again; summer is winding to a close and back to a regular work after vacation and long weekends, and back to school for some, is on everyone’s mind. Summertime can often be filled with indulgences and lazy days, and while that can be great, it also means that there’s some challenges with getting back into a healthy nutrition routine for you and your family.
When I work with clients lunches and snacks are often a big downfall. You’re rushed for time, you have picky kids and schools with lots of food restrictions, you’re too busy or stressed to eat during the day… the list goes on. Here are some of my favourite tips to make sure you get in healthy lunches and snacks, for you and the whole family:
1. Be prepared.
You may not have time during the week, but find a way to carve out an hour or two on the weekend in order to prep a couple of big batches of food ahead of time, such as a hearty vegetarian chili (try this recipe), a nut-free snack for school (this one is delicious!), and perhaps a batch of veggie burgers (give these a try) that can be stored in the fridge and used during the week.
2. Mason jars are your friend.
Use them to make easy grab and go snacks for the week. Put some hummus in the bottom and fill with chopped peppers and carrots; put some nut butter in the bottom and fill with celery; make your own yogurt cups with the smaller mason jars by filling with plain organic greek yogurt (or coconut / almond-cashew yogurt for non dairy) and top with berries, nuts and seeds.
3. Always make more than you need with dinner.
This will give you instant leftovers. If you’re making dinner for 4, up the recipe again by ½ or full to 6 or 8 servings. Once you’ve served everyone their dinner at the same time put those extra servings in containers and store in the fridge for lunches for everyone the next day. This also helps everyone avoid overeating at dinner, as the extra is already all packed away.
4. Make a grab and go box on the weekend.
Take a container (easiest is one without a lid) and fill it with healthy snacks such as snack bags filled with chopped veggies or fruit; any of the mason jar ideas above; hard boiled eggs bagged up and ready to go; some whole grain or gluten free crackers in a snack bag to go with some hummus or other healthy dip; snack bags of raw nuts & seeds (serving is around 12-15 nuts); and whole fruits. Then, in the morning when everyone is in a rush you can just grab from the box, throw it in your bag or the kid’s lunches and away you go.
5. Make a big batch of roasted veggies, and a batch of roasted sweet potatoes.
Separate out into containers for the week, then the night before add a protein based on whatever you’ve had for dinner, i.e. lentils, tempeh, etc. Add or bring some homemade dressing if you’d like, and you’re ready for lunch the next day.
Feeling out of whack after a summer of indulgences? Get back on track with a 6 week nutrition reboot program. It’s all about helping you get more energy, better sleep, lose extra weight and build long-term sustainable healthy habits. The next program starts September 26th, learn more here.