It’s been four months now since Lili started school and I must say, what a learning curve it has been! From good intentions, to hectic mornings, busy evenings and jelly sandwiches, we had our share of stress and adjustments to do! So today I want to share with you what I learned and what helped me leave that state of crazy busy and find a calmer school year routine. And because as we all know, whether as a busy student or as a mother to school aged kids, the main source of stress during the school year is time – or rather the lack of it.
So here are my 3 ways to save time during the school year:
- Meal plan. I said it before and I’ll say it again: meal planning saves time and sanity, and when done right, can actually make you happier and healthier.
- Prepare your meals ahead and freeze them. I’m not saying you should spend half of your weekend on cooking. But it’s not a bad idea either.
- Choose the ‘transformers’ meals aka the cook once eat three times options.
So now, this is the beautiful theory, but how we can actually put it in place?
See, I used to spend a lot of time on pinterest, looking for these cook once eat twice meal ideas, freezer meals and I used to cut my veggies ahead only to use half of them later. But let’s face it, it wasn’t really saving me that much time.
But then Laura and Ceri- the authors of my all time favourite cookbook “How to feed a family” must have read my mind, because they have written : ” The school year survival cookbook” , that helps me do exactly that: save time, meal plan, meal prep, and cook once and eat three times. Their approach to cooking is fun and unpretentious and their cookbook is full of revised classics, mixed with new and fresh recipes, all healthy but not too crunchy, with a reasonable list of ingredients and all kid tested ( a huge plus with picky eaters at home!). They have a whole chapter on school lunches and another one dedicated to transformer meals- aka the sanity savers!
So with their cookbook in hand, I made this amazing Acai Deluxe Smoothie Bowl ( page 51) – with pre cut the night ahead fruits, that have made me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation! See, I was always scared of smoothie bowls, seeing them as overly complicated to make for a busy morning and definitely not filling enough- well this recipe proves I was wrong!
Then, I have made the easiest healthy and freezer friendly lunch: Broccoli And Cheese Patties ( page 80 ) for my Lili. See , I would have never think that these are easy to make, but they are, and if you make a double batch over the weekend, then you have a great snack or lunch solution waiting for you in the freezer!
I have made these super healthy ( made with the ingredients that I would have never think my kids would eat without fuss- but perfectly balanced with taste and texture ) Nut Free Energy Balls ( see page 170 ) that Lili is asking me to make over and over again:
And lastly, they have inspired me to spice my pumpkin and carrot soups in a whole new way, kid approved way ( I got inspired by the sweet potato and apple soup- page 70 ) :
So now, since my meal prep and school lunches stress is well managed, I wonder if someone could write a book on dealing with laundry and folding? Please.
“The school year survival cookbook” by Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh, authors of the Sweet Potato Chronicles blog, can be found on Amazon and in bookstores. Don’t walk, run!
This book was gifted to me (after I already planned on buying it) all opinions remain entirety my own.