Tips for back to school
Updated: Jun 20, 2022
School drops offs, endless pick-ups, preparing lunchboxes, making after school snacks and coming up with healthy dinners….parents rightly feel exhausted by everything that’s involved in going back to school!
I know that making homemade, healthy food can feel overwhelming and like too much hard work in an already very busy life, but a few simple changes can help remove that stress and means your children can eat and enjoy balanced and nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinners!
This newsletter is full of quick breakfast ideas, colourful, fun lunchboxes, nourishing after-school snacks and simple, tasty dinner ideas to make going back to school this year a little bit easier.
Fast breakfast ideas
No-one has much time in the mornings, but with a little planning ahead you can fill up your children with nutritious rather than processed breakfasts.
Most Sundays I make a batch of my seed cereal (vanilla, raspberry or chocolate) to last for the week. You can also make my chia pots the night before (they take 5 mins to make) or have a pot of rainbow sprinkles ready for sprinkling over kefir yoghurt for a fast, instant boost.
See lots more ideas on my Instagram breakfast highlights reel
Weekends are thankfully more relaxing, and I love making special breakfasts or meals for us to have as a family.
All of the ideas below are simple and quick to make yet full of good ingredients.
1) Egg-yolk-only waffles that take minutes to whip up (see video here)
2) One-pan nutritious breakfast
3) Scrambled or poached eggs with hollandaise (see a video of my 7-year-old demonstrating how easy it is here)
4) Two-ingredient pancakes or perfect fluffy cheese omelette.
Make your own lunchboxes.
Lots of help can be found on my blog about healthy lunchboxes, full of top tips on how to make them quickly and easily.
Click the photos on this newsletter for a few lunchbox examples but there are also loads more ideas on my Instagram.
Recipes that are great for going in lunchboxes include easy savoury muffins, rainbow wraps and number shaped frittata!
Lunchboxes are the reason I started my Instagram account; it’s my mission to get good food into my kids and others!
Sweet treats for lunchboxes
Below I've shared more ideas for healthy food that looks and tastes great in lunchboxes and will make everyone envious!
1) Flourless Bakewell cakes (stirred together in minutes)
2) Healthy raspberry mini doughnuts with best-ever healthy pink icing
4) Quick honey cakes
5) Strawberry and cream energy balls
In summer add frozen fruit to yoghurt to keep it chilled; this is such a simple trick and works so well.
Healthy after school snacks
All children seem to be hungry after school, so I always give mine a nutritious snack when I pick them up.
Try a nutritious chocolate smoothie, banana seed milkshake, elderflower sweets or healthy vanilla fudge - these are always big hits in my house!
However, I'm careful not to give them too much or they then don’t eat dinner.
Easy one-pan dinners
Most of us don’t have long to get dinner ready so nearly all my recipes use very few ingredients, require minimal chopping and are made in one bowl, tray or pan for less washing up.
There are so many on my Instagram and website such as my one-tray dinner, nutrient-loaded prawn fritters, super nutritious bolognese, easy fragrant coconut curry, fluffy chicken fritters with apricot dip and beef and lamb tray bake.
If you’re out and about around dinner time and need to feed your kids, try my on-the-go rainbow chicken pots.
Eat healthily while on the go on weekends!
On the weekend we spend time as a family and often go for long walks with the dog which is why I’m always trying to create portable healthy food that’s a hit for both my kids and my husband.
Find lots of ideas on my food for on-the-go blog which offers inspiration for everything from outdoor adventures to camping holidays.
Help the environment...
As well as the health benefits, such as less emulsifiers, additives and sugar, buying real, whole food to put in a reusable lunchbox, rather than packaged, processed food, helps the environment as it means less packaging and plastic. Instantly food will be healthier and more colourful.
Try to buy in season, plan ahead when you go shopping, think of a variety of food, shapes, sizes, colours and ways to present lunchboxes in an appealing & attractive way.
Help your community...
Finally, there is a great charity that I’ve raised money for (by doing Zoom cookery classes in lockdown) called Chefs In Schools that are transforming school dinners into real, good, home-cooked food.
I’m passionate, like them, about children eating nutritious food and I really hope school dinners will improve! Check them out if this is a cause that interests you too.