Back to school means getting back to planning and organizing for your family and yourself. You’ve shopped for classroom supplies, fall clothes, gym uniforms, lunchboxes and more. How about getting your kitchen organized as well!

Not only will you save time and money, but planning your meals and snacks in advance will also ensure you have the right foods available to make them happen. Here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Choose a day/time to plan your meals for the week, ex. Sundays. Get inspiration from your favorite cookbooks, magazines or web sites. You can do this on your computer, in a notebook, or use a Meal Planner.

2. Make a grocery list. Making a grocery list requires time upfront, but with practice will become a routine, and will ultimately save you time. It will also ensure you don’t buy anything extra while you’re at the store. Tip: never go grocery shopping when hungry!

 

3. Set aside time to meal prep. Prepare what you can in advance. For example, cut up veggies for snacking during the week or for making stir fries, batch cook chilli or soups for quick dinners during the week, prepare a batch of oatmeal to have for breakfasts, or overnight oats (see recipe below).

 

4. Prepare for last minute meals: Busy day and nothing planned or prepared for tonight? This is bound to happen from time to time. Make sure your pantry has a few key ingredients for last minute meals. For example, keep in your freezer some fish filets and chicken breasts, fruits and vegetables and an extra loaf of whole wheat bread. In your fridge, make sure to have fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese with less than 20% M.F., eggs, milk and plain greek yogurt. Finally, stock your pantry with nuts, seeds and nut butters (if there are allergies in your house, try roasted chickpeas and WowButter), dried fruits, canned tuna, cans of legumes, canned tomatoes with no added sodium, whole wheat pasta (or try bean pasta for more protein!) olive oil and vinegar.

 

Meals in a snap!

1 | breakfast

Overnight oat: rolled oats, chia seeds, 1 tbsp of nut butter of your choice, some milk, frozen berries and slivered almonds.

Try whole wheat toast with low fat cheese and fruit slices on top.

Create a shake by blending soy milk, 1 piece of fruit (fresh or frozen), a green veggie like spinach or kale, and ground flax seed or hemp hearts.

2 | lunch

Make a quick and filling salad: start with some pre-washed greens (spinach/arugula/lettuce), add veggies of your choice and protein: cubes of low fat cheese, a boiled egg, chick peas or canned tuna.

Melt some low fat cheese on whole wheat bread and add fruit or vegetable sticks.

Fill a whole grain pita with any leftover protein (ex cooked chicken or turkey) and add whatever veggies you have in the fridge for a healthy sandwich option.

3 | dinner

Make a quick pasta sauce by adding shrimp, clams or mussels to tomato sauce and chopped frozen vegetables.

Have breakfast for dinner! Scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast and sliced tomatoes or other veggies.

Stir fry your favourite vegetables with pre-cooked shrimp or tofu.