Almost half of married-couple families in the U.S. have both adults in the workforceOpens in a new tab. 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.
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- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
- 5 ounces old fashioned oats
- Pour oats in a bowl, followed by milk and yogurt over the top.
- Fold the ingredients together gently.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Serve cold.
- 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:
- Orange slices
- Apples slices
- Trail mix
- Granola bar
Click hereOpens in a new tab for a quinoa and chickpea salad recipe that you can meal prep for the whole week.