Disclosure: This conversation is sponsored by Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.
In some parts of the country school has already started and in other parts, parents and kids are gearing up to head back to the classroom.
While I admit that I am ecstatic that my kids are back in school, it also marks the beginning of hectic schedules and juggling dinner and homework. I have two kids and their schedules cause a bit of scrambling during the week. I have to give made props to those of you with more than than two kids! Mad props and bottle of wine.
So, when you are running around taking kids to sports practice, after school clubs, and to whatever other activities they are involved in, how to make sure they are still getting healthy nutrition?
Over the years, I’ve used these tips to help me keep my kids healthy while having such active lives.
- Plan, plan, plan. No really, I can’t emphasis this enough. Each week I sit with my planner and pencil in all the activities we have going on. This helps me better prepare in advance how to fit in meals and snacks.
- Precook a few meals. There are at least 2 days each week that I know I won’t have time to prepare dinner. To make sure we will still be able to have something warm to eat, I try to prepare a few freezer meals in advance. Sometimes they are crockpot meals that can cook all day or other times they are casseroles that I can stick in the oven before leaving the house. Luckily our oven has a ‘keep warm’ function, so after a designated amount of the time the temperature will drop and our food will still be warm when we get home.
- Have Snacks Packed. This is probably the biggest help. After grocery shopping I make ready to go snack bags that can be thrown in my purse as we are headed out. These help abate the kids’ hunger as we are running from one practice to the other. The snack size baggies are perfect for these. Some of our favorite snacks to include are assorted veggies (although my kids really only like celery and carrots,) crackers, pretzels, grapes, blueberries, apple slices, raisins or craisins and peanuts.
- Picnic in the car. As crazy as it sounds, we have at least one day a week where practices and other commitments keep us from home during dinner time. Sure we could swing by a drive-thru and grab something on the go, but it almost seems counter productive to have the kids out there being active and then giving them fast food. Instead I pack a picnic dinner for the car. It can be as simple or complex as you like. I pre-make sandwiches and other times we have just deli meat, cheese and fruit. The latter is by far my kids’ favorite. It allows them to eat with their hands and doesn’t feel like they are eating lunch again.
- HYDRATE! Okay, so this is a total give in, but really one that can easily be overlooked. Having just moved to a new region of the country, we are not used to the humid weather here. While back in Oregon, my kids could make it through practice or their other activities with just a single bottle of water, here that is not the case. Not only do we keep a mini cooler stocked with water, but we also have Horizon Organic milk for added nutrition kick. My kids love the flavored milks and I love the fact that they are still getting some calcium in their diets, especially when they are burning through so much of the protein and nutrients that they take in.
So, there are just a few of the tips/tricks I use to keep my kids healthy when it would be really easy to fall into some unhealthy and quick habits. I have to say that not only does this help the kids, but it helps me also, I’m not eating as much crap as I could be either.
I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you use when your schedule gets crazy! Please leave me a comment below so we can all help each other.