Back to school: Get back into a new meal time routine

Back to school: Get back into a new meal time routine

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get into the habit of planning your family meals

With the children set to go back to school, a routine that we have all been in for almost six months is about to change dramatically.

As we start a new routine it can be very tempting to reach for the processed convenience foods such as, pizzas, chicken nuggets, chips....

This of course can be okay occasionally, everyone deserves a treat from time to time, it's when it becomes part of your daily diet that it causes issues down the line with your health.

To avoid this, here are some tips on how to organise your family meals when school is back.

START WITH A PLAN

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get into the habit of planning your family meals. This will save you time and money. Planning meals in advance ensures you use up the ingredients you have before buying more. Get the whole family involved by allowing everyone pick a meal. There is a meal planner in my 28-day rescue plan, download it free from my website and get writing!

WRITE A LIST

Write a shopping list for the ingredients you need to put your meal plan into action. This will save you time wandering around the shop wondering what to buy and save you money as you will be less likely to put unwanted items in your trolley.

PLAN FOR LEFTOVERS

Plan for leftovers to be used the next day, potentially as lunch. For example leftover roast chicken is so versatile and can be used in salads or wraps. My personal favourite is to make an egg fried rice with it. Leftover potatoes can be mixed with a tin of tuna, onions, peppers and some herbs to make lovely fish-cake.

PREPARE FOOD IN BATCHES

If your family are great at coming up with the meal plan ideas but not so great at helping to prep or cook it, then lighten your load by prepping once to eat multiple times. Chop and wash a variety of veg all at once, then place them in an airtight container in the fridge to use as snacks.

Double your recipe ingredients and store them in the fridge or freezer and you will have a meal ready to be cooked when you want it. This works great for curries.

EAT A SOURCE OF PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL OR SNACK

When you eat carbohydrates alone they quickly get digested and converted into sugar, which is then absorbed into your blood stream causing a spike in blood sugar. However including a source of protein with your meal or snack slows down digestion. This leads to a slower absorption of carbohydrates, therefore a lower rise in blood sugar, so less of the fat storing hormone insulin is needed, and protein will help you feel full for longer resulting in less snacking late at night.

FOLLOW THE HEALTHY PLATE GUIDE

The healthy plate guide is an easy way to make sure everyone is having a well-balanced meal. Just fill half plates with half vegetables, a quarter of your plate protein/healthy fats e.g. chicken, meat, fish, eggs, lentils, and quarter of the plate low GL carbohydrates e.g. sweet potato, brown pasta or rice, quinoa.

Debbie Devane from The Nutri Coach is a qualified nutritionist and health coach. For more information or to make an appointment email Debbie at info@thenutricoach.ie. For more information go to thenutricoach.ie

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