Chef Roger Mooking breaks down his top 3 tips for parents to start the school year off right.
Parents, the summer blush has been lifted and it’s time to sharpen our focus again! As a father of 4 young girls aged 8 to 2, my household gets especially busy as we prepare for the madness of returning to a school schedule.
School pickups and drop offs, daycare schedules, extracurricular activities, and homework add a few crushing layers to the usual parental responsibilities. Quick meals become the best friend of every busy parent, but this doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice quality healthy foods to keep the rugrats well fed. Here are my own top 3 tips and tricks to get through the next 10 months:
1. Sunday Funday.
I spend one day a week cooking for the entire week and load up the fridge and freezer with countless meals. Soups, stews, cooked meats, lasagna, biscuits, tomato sauce, potatoes, hummus, sauces, and rice are fully loaded on Sunday for the entire week. All I have to do is reheat and make a quick salad or add some fresh tomatoes and garlic to my already cooked pasta to make a super fast healthy pasta between school and swimming lessons. This may seem like a waste of a perfectly good weekend day but believe me, it saves you many headaches and an incredible amount of time during the week.
2. Fresh produce.
Always have a lot of fresh fruit and veggies on hand. I like to hand the kids a couple mini cucumbers or One Sweet tomatoes with a container of hummus and torn bread so they can snack in the car in between activities. This is also great for that post homework snack when these bottomless pits of food seem to always be hungry…again!
3. Packing lunches.
Kids like to play with food, so we pack lunches that they have to mix together and interact with. For instance – pack a container with bacon, tomato, and lettuce. Leave the sliced bread in a separate plastic baggie and have them assemble their own sandwich at lunchtime. If we, as parents, make food fun then hopefully they will see lunchtime as an opportunity to not only be nourished but feel great.
I’m no child psychologist but this stuff seems to work to keep things moving smoothly in my household…most of the time.
– Roger Mooking
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