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How Meal Prepping May Take the Stress Out of Back-To-School Season

Almost half of married-couple families in the U.S. have both adults in the workforceOpens a new window. This can lead to hectic schedules when you also have to worry about getting kids to the bus stop on time, after-school activities and preparing meals. That’s where planning meals in advance can help make for a successful week during back-to-school season.


Although meal prep requires planning, it’s a great way to stay on a healthier eating track during a busy time of year and may eliminate the temptation of last-minute, more processed options. It can also help you save money and time while reducing your stress

If you’re new to meal planning, you don’t have to plan and cook a whole week’s worth of meals on Sunday. Start small and try to prep for the next day or two, using leftovers as your base. For example, if you are having chicken for dinner, grill a few extra. You can slice up the leftovers to put on a salad for lunch the next day.

UnitedHealthcare’s Executive Chef Calvin Benedict shares an easy and healthy breakfast you can prep for your child the night before. 

Overnight Oats

View TranscriptOpens a new window

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 5 ounces old fashioned oats 

Instructions:

  1. Pour oats in a bowl, followed by milk and yogurt over the top. 
  2. Fold the ingredients together gently. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  4. Serve cold. 
  5. Optional: add berries as a garnish and added nutrients.

Get your kids involved, and have them pack their lunch the night before, too. Set up an assembly line and have them pick one food option from each category for a well-rounded lunch. 

Sandwich or Wrap: 

  • Roast beef with cheddar
  • Turkey with swiss 
  • Chicken with mozzarella
  • Peanut butter with jam

Fruits or Vegetables: 

  • Grapes
  • Orange slices
  • Apples slices
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers

Side: 

  • Crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Cookies
  • Granola bar
  • Yogurt 

Click hereOpens a new window for a quinoa and chickpea salad recipe that you can meal prep for the whole week.