Well, the day has finally come. We are all officially back to school. The boys start classes today and I have a full week of teacher in-service meetings. I set my alarm last night for 5:30am and my husband laughed and said “good luck with that” he has no faith in me. The alarm went off, and very slowly I got up. I don’t think there is enough coffee in the world that will keep me awake today, but I’ll try.
This school year is a bit different for me since my hours changed. I work until 2:30pm which means I don’t have those few hours in the afternoon before the kids get home to get stuff done, like start dinner. We will all come home at the same time and we will be consumed with homework. I needed to come up with a system that would help me stay organized throughout the week so I could get a healthy dinner on the table nightly. Making real food meals is easy but they require a little more planning. Here are 5 things I do daily and weekly to keep family dinners on the table nightly without me stressing out.
MENU PLAN - This by far is the single one thing I do on a weekly basis that keeps healthy meals on the table. Without menu planning who knows what we would be eating, and I’d be stressed every night. If you’ve never done it, try it! Here are 5 reasons why you should.
SHOP ONCE - Pick a day that works for you to do your grocery shopping, it will save you a ton of time throughout the week. I tend to shop at a few stores a few times a month. Some week’s it’s just one so allow enough time on that day to get it all done. Maybe do it when your spouse can watch the kids so you can have a little time to yourself too.
PREPARE EARLY - If you know you want chicken for dinner but it’s in the freezer take it out the night before to defrost. Using the slow cooker? Try prepping the meal the night before so all you need to do the next day is take it out of the fridge and turn it on. Write your weekly menu on a chalk board in the kitchen to help remind you of what is coming up next so you don’t forget.
PREPARE FREEZER MEALS - We will have a few nights out of the week that will be non-stop with sports and after school activities so it will be extremely helpful to have meals already prepared waiting for us in the freezer. I can either prepare meals ahead of time on the weekends or make double batches of meals and freeze the extras.
USE WHAT’S ON HAND - Towards the end of the week things can look a little bare. Don’t go back to the grocery store and spend more money just use what you have on hand. Throw together a stir fry with leftover veggies, make a no-cook meal or simply have a leftover night. This is my favorite type of night because I don’t have to cook.
REAL FOOD Menu Plan – Organizing for the School Year!
Here is my first menu plan of the school year, I will let you know next week how it turned out.
Monday: Organic whole chickens were on sale at my local grocery store so I picked one up. I love the beer can chickens which can be done on the grill or even in the oven.
Tuesday: Using leftovers from the chicken to make Chicken Caesar Salads serving it with tomato soup.
Wednesday: I love using my Ninja cooking system because everything can be done in one pot. This Mediterranean chicken with artichokes and couscous is super easy to throw together and budget friendly too.
Thursday: The boys and I are headed out of town for the weekend and I know my husband will not fix a bunch of leftovers so I want to clean out the fridge. So Leftover Night it is!
Since we will be away for the weekend I will menu plan for the next week before I leave then shop the evening I get back. I want to be all set when the next school week begins.
So that’s my menu plan for this week…hope it’s inspired you to think outside the box when feeding your family. Just remember when you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with “life” a little organization goes a long way. If you are still looking for inspiration head over to my Menu Plans. On Pinterest? Head over and check out my Family Meals Board for more real food inspiration and become inspired over at Org.Junkie.