Hey, y’all! I’ve been on a bit of a summer hiatus. To keep up with me during these downtimes, be sure to follow me on Instagram at instagram.com/dietitiansherry, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DietitianSherry, and on Twitter at @DietitianSherry. Meanwhile, this post was written by Emma Bryant, a Dietetic Intern and RD2Be from Georgia State University. Hope your back-to-school time also includes time to care for yourself!
August is upon us and for many folks that means getting the kids back to school, which in turn means busier schedules. These hectic times often make it easy to forget the importance of caring for ourselves. One simple way we can care for ourselves is by providing our bodies with nutritious, tasty foods. You may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t have the time for that!” But I am here to tell you that preparing good for us meals can be easy and quick! Here are some tips to help:
- Plan your menus. With a little planning, you can be sure nutritious options are always within reach. The best way to do this is to pick one day to plan meals for the entire week. Once the meals are decided on, write out your grocery list and head to the store! Having your meals planned and a stocked kitchen will prepare you for a successful week ahead.
- Pre-prepare your food. Pick a day to prepare some of the food you’ll be munching on throughout the week. It could include cutting up any fruit or vegetables that will be eaten during the week; cooking a large batch of rice or quinoa to be incorporated into recipes or served as a side with your dinners; or even preparing one large dish such as soup or chili to eat throughout the week. This is a fun time to get creative in the kitchen, and will allow for even easier meals during the busy week.
- Always keep a stocked pantry and freezer. If your plans need to change – this is your back up! Having a variety of shelf-stable and frozen foods on hand will allow you to prepare a healthy dish even when trips to the grocery don’t happen, or if a late night reduces the time you have available to prepare a meal. Keeping a pantry full of canned items and grains and a freezer full of meats, veggies patties, and vegetable blends will ensure you always have something available to whip up – probably in less time than pizza delivery!
- Buy in bulk. This is a cost saving strategy that will help with keeping a stocked kitchen. When buying in bulk, focus on items that store well for long periods of time. Chicken is a great item to buy in bulk because it can be divided easily into individual portions, wrapped in plastic wrap and zip-top freezer bags and frozen. You can even go ahead and add marinade to the proportioned meats before freezing. When you are ready to cook it, just thaw the amount you need! Some other ideas include: peanut butter, frozen veggie patties, frozen vegetables, tuna, canned or dried beans, canned tomatoes, grains, legumes, and pasta.
When times get busy these tips are designed to help you be prepared with nutritious meals at home. The next time you’re running late from that parent-teacher conference or late sporting event, you will have a simple, nutritious, and delicious way to care for yourself and your family.