It’s time to gear up for a new school year. That means buying supplies and clothes, coordinating schedules, and adjusting to new routines.
All the preparations can leave you feeling drained, but with the proper fuel you can ensure your family has the energy needed to ace each day.
Kick off the year by creating a meal plan, which will help you stay organized, maintain a good diet and avoid repeat trips to the store. To simplify shopping and preparation, put together a list of favorite meals and snacks; then group according to common ingredients. Use a dry erase calendar, spreadsheet or online template to plot out menus one week at a time. Then, draft a grocery list and stick to it. This will help you pass up the chips and cookies for more energy-boosting options.
When you arrive home, immediately wash and prep produce for the week to make it that much easier to make nutritious meals all week long.
Start the Day off Right
Wholesome breakfasts provide a pick-me-up in the morning and throughout the day. Squeeze some oranges for fresh juice and a vitamin C boost. You can make a pitcher each weekend to last several days. Serve with homemade granola bars for a satisfying start to the day.
Smoothies are another easy breakfast. Whip up personalized flavors for each family member using the pre-set Smoothie and Power Blends programs on a Vitamix S50. This personal blender’s 20-ounce container becomes a good travel cup for school or work. Freeze a variety of individual servings of fruit and vegetable combinations into zip-top bags, blend with yogurt, milk or juice, and head out the door. Or use the machine’s 40-ounce container to make larger batches for the family to enjoy together. A nourishing smoothie provides the fuel necessary for a productive start to the day.
Prep power-packed lunches for school and work by including protein, fruits and vegetables in an assortment of tastes and textures. You can use a premium blender to quickly prepare all kinds of dips and nut butters. Try homemade hummus with cucumber slices and carrot sticks and a side of strawberries and grapes. Or create fun finger foods, such as a peanut butter and apple wrap, or ants on a log — almond butter and raisins on a celery stick.
Remember to stay hydrated. Water is fuel, and even mild dehydration can slow down body systems, resulting in fatigue. Carry a large container of water to drink throughout the day.
Continue beneficial eating habits at dinner. Add extra vegetables to your menu with a squash cheese sauce for a new take on whole wheat macaroni and cheese. Or bake a wholesome pizza using fresh pesto or a white bean purée as the sauce.
Instead of hitting the couch after dinner, complement healthful eating by taking a walk with your family. Exercise provides a natural endorphin boost, giving you extra motivation to maintain healthy habits.
With a little planning, a busy schedule won’t be an excuse for bad habits.