How Do I Find Time to Make Healthy Meals and Homeschool?
Homeschool mom, Sarah L. asks,
My challenge is incorporating healthy meal prep into my already hectic day at home with the kids. It seems like the day just flies by and the kids just want to eat junk while they are studying! My meals consist mostly of carbs and frozen chicken nuggets!
Answer: As a new homeschooling Mom, it might seem as if there are not enough hours in the day, especially when it comes to healthy cooking and meal prep. The hardest thing for me seemed to be thinking up nutritious lunches that my kids would eat. So, what did I do instead? I bought convenience foods, chips and juice boxes. Guess what happened? Sick Children.
Juggling homeschool was hard enough, but when I had to add in work, managing chores, chronic runny noses, ear infections, throat infections, and unfocused, hyperactive behavior, it really wreaked havoc in my life.
It was then I decided to buckle down and get busy working on a healthy eating plan for my family. This was one of the first experiences that encouraged me to become involved in health, as a ministry to others. So…from my pantry to yours, here’s a step by step time-saving plan for introducing, prepping, and serving healthy meals to your family. I’ve also included new, tech-savvy assistance and some great links I’ve discovered along the way!
- Purge the pantry. Getting rid of most processed foods that are full of sugar, dyes, additives, and preservatives is a step in the right direction. This includes white flour products and hydrogenated oils. These items offer no nutritional value to the family. They also cause a multitude of behavior issues in children and adults. Click here to find out more.
- Restock pantry with the following healthy ingredients:
- Green leafy vegetables, yellow, red, orange, and green vegetables.
- Different varieties of beans, peas, and lentils (Organic canned are fine)
- Whole sprouted grains, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain organic oats
- Lean meat such as chicken, turkey, and fish (Red meat no more than once or twice per week)
- Lots of fresh fruit (especially apples)
- If it’s in a can, go for organic, or minimally processed.
- If it’s in a package, it needs to have real food ingredients, not chemical-laden ingredients.
- Ground Flax
- Unsalted nuts and nut butter (organic if available)
- For baking utilize brown rice flour, coconut, or almond flour. (You can also grind your own unbleached, whole wheat at certain places in different cities, but this is not convenient, or time-saving at this time in your life. Although, it is very healthy and should be considered)
- Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil
- Heavy paper plates for lunch
- Lots of good herbs and spices for seasoning your food
- Create a Routine that includes: meal planning, list-making, grocery shopping, and meal prep. During scheduled times, have children doing chores, TV time, nap time, quiet play in their room, or you can schedule for these items during your kid’s extracurricular classes outside of the home. Much can also be done before the family gets up or after everyone goes to bed. Here’s a throwback podcast from Jamie to assist you with creating the perfect routine for your family.
- Try NOT to take the kids to the store with you when you begin this adventure. That way you will not be tempted to give in to desires until you break some bad food habits.
- Take advantage of grocery delivery services. You can even utilize coupons to cover the cost! See some of the apps below to find out how to do that.
- Include a set time in the routine to eat meals and snacks together. Grazing at home during the school day can promote overindulgence, a pre-occupation with food, and mindless eating.
- Cooking at least three main course entrees on the same day saves a lot of time. See this great article on some great healthy meals to cook ahead.
- To be successful, you must provide easily accessible, healthy alternatives to junk food for your sweeties! Some suggestions are apples with nut butter, frozen whole-grain waffles to pop in the toaster with real maple syrup, whole-grain crackers with cheese, fruit and veggie smoothies (make ahead), multi-grain chips with different types of veggie-based dips, and raw veggies with homemade ranch dip or hummus.
- Serve breakfast and lunch on heavy paper plates or in paper bowls, to prevent prolonged clean-up periods. Utilize real plates for dinner only and let the kids help set the table and prepare the evening meal.
More articles on healthy meal planning:
- Tips for Creating a Meal Plan that Works
- Once a Month Freezer Cooking
- Free Weekly Meal Plan Printable
More about the author:
Stephanie is the Marketing Director for Soaring with Him Ministries and is a veteran homeschool mom of 21 years. Stephanie has had the unique opportunity to have lived in four different countries and four different states. Stephanie is also a board-certified nutrition consultant and founder of “No More Band-Aids” which is a ministry of encouragement to caretakers and those suffering from Chronic Disease. Stephanie’s passions are homeschooling, travel, health and wellness, and her faith.