Preparing kids for school, sports and the many other commitments families face can be a daunting task for even the most organized of parents! Add to that allergies, special dietary needs or health concerns and you have a recipe for an overwhelmed, stressed lifestyle.
As a parent, as an athlete and as a nutrition expert, I have faced these challenges first hand and discovered a variety of solutions. My first mandate was to find healthy, whole food meals (meaning, NO heavily refined, processed ingredients) that my kids will actually eat. The second mandate was to ensure these recipes were as quick and easy as possible…Not a single parent I know has time for lengthy difficult recipes on a daily basis, if ever.
My final mission, is to bring simple tips to you and your family that you can actually use. This is not about re-creating the wheel, but rather helping you learn ways to make healthy eating habits a daily reality.
My tip for this week is to prepare ahead: Make 3 weeks of healthy baked snacks in only 3 hours! Find a small block of time in your schedule and make the most of it. Here are some tips on how I did just this last weekend:
- Select 3-5 similar types of recipes in advance of making anything; In this case I chose baked muffins and cookies:
- Oatmeal Apple Bakes*
- Banana Buckwheat Cakes*
- Blueberry Granola Bars (This can be found in the “Love Your Body Lunchbox” cookbook)
- Pumpkin Cookies*
- Banana Oatmeal Muffins*
- Double or triple each recipe: one effort = 3 times the results. One batch will be devoured by my kids in a day or less. Making these recipes daily, or even weekly is not an option, so I always make as much as possible and freeze the extras. It save so much time…3 times the amount of snacks with only a couple extra minutes of prep and a little extra cooking time.
- Include the kids! They can find ingredients while you prep, or start measuring while do other steps. Not only will kids eat what they create, they will have gain valuable practice in math, science, and healthy cooking skills. Plus, you will ease your own work load.
- Overlap recipes! As soon as one recipe is in the oven, start the next recipe. This saves valuable time in a packed schedule and leaves more time for fun! By the time the first recipe is cooked, then next one will be ready to go in the oven….Oh yes, and start with the recipes that use lower cooking temperatures first, then follow with the higher temp. ones.
- Freeze the extras: As soon as the recipes cool, place as much as possible in tightly sealed storage containers and store in the freezer.
- Label the containers: A sharpie and some tapes makes for quick, simple labels and easy access when preparing daily lunches. (It helps the teens and dads make better choices on a daily basis too!)
By focusing on just baked treats, it allowed me to use the same tools repeatedly without having to swap heavy mixers for bulky food processors, which saves tons of time. I rotate the types of recipes I am doing about every 2 weeks, which allows for excellent variety and keeps kids interested in eating the healthy, tasty choices. Stay tuned as soon I will feature a blog on 3 weeks of healthy NO-BAKE treats in even less time!
For access to all these whole food recipes, and many more, please visit www.bundlesofenergy.com. There you can discover a path to a whole foods lifestyle that will bring you fabulous flavor along side easy recipe that support the health of you and your family!