By Sudduf Wyne @salamsudduf
School is back! That means it’s time to start packing lunches, and ensuring your children are eating healthy and well balanced meals a few times a day. Gone are the days when your child can roll out of bed at any time of morning and request freshly made pancakes, or a peanut butter and jam sandwich with heart-shaped bananas on the side. If your household is anything like ours in the morning, the word CHAOS may best describe it. While making breakfast and meals on demand in the summer is nice, it’s not sustainable for the school year when you have a timeline to stick to.
I’ve consulted some local moms with school aged children to share some simple ideas on how to incorporate healthy and balanced meals during those busy school days. Bonus: All of these meal suggestions can be shared together as a family, so you can whip up an extra meal for yourself, too.
- Breakfast Chicken Strips by Zabihal Halal
- Lemon Juice (optional)
- Salt + Pepper
Prep: Toast your bread while frying your breakfast chicken strips and eggs (scrambled) in the same skillet (easy cleanup, yay!). While the chicken strips are sizzling (yum!), mash up the avocado in a bowl and add some freshly squeezed lemon and a hint of salt and pepper (optional). Once your bread is toasted, top it with the avocado, the breakfast chicken strips (you can chop these up into bacon bit size), and the eggs.
Simplify: skip the mashing of the avocado and just spoon it out directly onto the toast.
- Greek Yogurt
- Fresh or Frozen fruits
- Almonds or other nuts (optional)
- Honey (optional)
- Chia Seeds (optional)
Prep: Using a jar or bowl, layer the yogurt with fruit, granola, and honey. You can do multiple layers and put it in a fancy glass jar and instagram it, or just throw it all into a bowl.
Simplify: If you don’t mind the granola being soggy (I prefer it soggy), you can make these yogurt parfaits in a jar at night and your kids can grab them from the fridge in the morning. Another way to simplify is to use frozen fruit. As the fruit defrosts, the fruit juices will mix into the yogurt and make for an even yummier parfait!
Smoked Chicken + Cheese Sandwich
- Smoked Chicken Breast from Zabiha Halal
- Lettuce or Arugula or Basil Leaves
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Salt + Pepper (optional)
Prep: Toast the bread and layer as many slices of the smoked chicken breast deli and cheese as you’d like. Add any other toppings you and your kids enjoy, such as, tomatoes, olives, red pepper, etc. Top this off with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt + pepper. Close the sandwich with another slice of bread and cut it in half.
Simplify: Buy pre-sliced cheese. You can also have a mixture of the lettuce/arugula + olive oil + salt and pepper ready to go in your fridge at the start of the week and then just use it for sandwiches or breakfast toast, etc.
Mini Cracker Sandwiches
- Cooked Chicken Breast deli from Zabiha Halal
- Sliced Cheese
Prep: Cut the chicken breast deli, cheese, and vegetables into bite size pieces that will fit onto the crackers you are using. Store the items in separate small containers or baggies. When it’s time for lunch, your children (or you) can build your own mini cracker sandwiches by layering the crackers with the ingredients above.
Simplify: After a grocery trip, pre-cut the chicken breast deli and cheese into smaller pieces and store single servings (ie: 4-6 pieces) in containers. If you decide to go with mini cracker sandwiches for lunch, just grab and give. If not, these items on their own make a good recess time snack, too!
Soup + Salad
Prep: Plate the read to serve soup and salad. Cook the Zabiha Halal Chicken Burgers or Breasts as directed and cut the chicken into strips. Top the salad with warm chicken to complete the plating.
Simplify: Cook the chicken burgers or breasts on the weekend before the busy school week and use it throughout the week for salads, sandwiches, and more.
I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering thinking of all of these delicious meals. The problem is, when it comes time to grocery shop and meal plan, I’m not very organized. If this sounds like you, download the calendar from my previous blog post and use it to meal plan.
Good luck, and happy eating!