A FRESH START
The beginning of a new school year is always new and exciting, but figuring out what to feed the kids on a busy weeknight can quickly become a chore. Getting back into a routine after months of low-key grilling and laid-back pizza nights is tough, but with a little advanced preparation, you’ll start the year off right (and stay there). The kid-friendly, parent-approved dinners in this meal plan can take the stress out of the start of a new year or at least, make it more manageable. All of the featured recipes are easy, delicious and ready to go in 25 minutes or less. They’re also healthy and packed with nutrients because they showcase our favorite superfood: seaweed!
THE BENEFITS OF MEAL PLANNING
Meal planning and meal prep can help you stay one step ahead of dinner which is essential on busy weeknights when school is back in sesh. By laying the groundwork ahead of time, you can prepare meals that are convenient, healthy and appealing to even the pickiest of eaters. Meal planning also helps to reduce impulsive food choices which usually translates into bowls of simple carbohydrates. (Think of all the times you’ve grabbed a box of mac and cheese as a last-minute resort). It’s also budget-friendly because you’re only buying what you need which means you’ll spend less in the long run and cut down on food waste. The best part? It’s one less thing to think about. Once you buy all of the ingredients and prep ahead of time, you can execute your plan without making any more decisions or extra trips to the market during the week. By creating a meal plan, you’ll save money, time and stress while ensuring that your family eats healthier, more balanced meals.
MEAL PLAN LIKE A PRO
If you’re just getting started, take it slow. Plan a few meals a week or just on your busiest days. Once you get the hang of it, you can add more meals to your weekly plan.
Make a list
Once you’ve planned the week’s meals, create a shopping list and stick to it. Include everything you’ll need to make your planned meals as well as healthy school snacks like string cheese, fresh fruit and Gimme Seaweed Snacks, of course.
Prep and shop on the weekend
Trust us, an hour or two on Sunday will make the rest of your week way easier. Prep sauces and dressings, clean and cut up veggies, cook up a pot of grains. Stack up containers of prepped ingredients in the fridge for easy weekday access.
Batch cooking is the secret to weeknight sanity if you’re busy juggling work and shuttling kids to after-school activities. Prepare a large quantity of a specific food all at once, so you can use it in a variety of different ways during the week. For example, cook up a big batch of rice for burritos and grain bowls; roast a chicken to use in a salad or a soup; roast a tray of veggies to use in salads or stir-fries. Cooking in batches lets you prepare for multiple meals at the same time.
THIS WEEK’S PLAN
Monday: Chicken Meatballs
Start the week off on a healthy note with these yummy meatballs. Made from chicken instead of beef, they’re delicious right out of the oven. Serve over rice with a side of veggies or toss them with noodles. Save time by prepping a big batch and freezing the leftovers for next week.
Tuesday: Taco Bites
This meal is perfect when you’re trying to wrap up deadlines, help with homework and still get everyone off to bed on time. An easy take on poke, these tasty taco bites can be varied to accommodate picky eaters: add avocado slices, thin strips of cucumber or sriracha mayo to spice things up.
Wednesday: Shredded Chicken Rice Bowl
Hearty, nutritious and easy, this meal is yummy enough that your kids will ask for seconds. Prep it ahead of time by cooking the chicken in the pressure cooker (or if you batch cooked during the weekend, all you have to do is shred the chicken before serving). Everything comes together in minutes.
Thursday: Baked Salmon Sushi Cups
It doesn’t get much easier than these umami-packed salmon sushi cups. All you need is 20 minutes and 5 ingredients to make a fun and delicious meal your kiddos will adore. It’s the perfect dinner for those busy nights that you’re juggling piano lessons and soccer practice.
Friday: Gluten-Free Pizza
TGIF. You made it! Treat yourself to take-out pizza or make this delicious gluten-free pizza with your kids. Let them choose their favorite toppings and spend the time catching up and hearing all about their first week back.
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