Part 1 of Back to School Lunch Tips

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I pack lunch because it ensures my kids are getting the fuel they need for the day.  It’s the worst when they come off that bus hungry, tired and crying…. not how I want to spend my afternoon.  So I put together a few east tips to make packing lunches easier.

 

Tip #1 – Know How Much your Kids Need to Eat Everyday

My son is 65 lbs and nearly 4.5 feet tall, at our last doctor appointment I asked how much should I be feeding him.  I feel like he is a bottomless pit, often he eats more a meal times than I do.  The doctor laughed and said for his size and activity level about 2000 calories per day was good for him.  2000 Calories per day!  That is more than I eat!  Now to be clear I don’t count calories for him, that would drive me crazy.  I do however portion out his food because I know he only has 30 minutes and his stomach isn’t even the size of a fist.  If I over pack his lunch he will eat some of it and probably throw the rest away.  Why waste the food?

There are several resources on the internet to find out just how much your child needs to eat daily or you can call your doctor for an appointment.

 

 

Tip #2 – Know your School Rules

So many school are nut free these days due to allergies, in fact my daughter school was shell fish free one year.  And let’s not forget the year there was no red dye allowed because the lunch room had new carpet. (Who puts carpet in a preschool lunch room?)  The truth is some kids have deadly allergies, so if your school had restrictions you need to respect them.  I also know that any extra attention for a teacher or lunch monitor would make my shy oldest child wither up.  School is hard enough as it is, make sure you know the rules and follow them from day 1.

 

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Tip #3 –  Back a Healthier Lunch

Make a few small changes to create a healthier lunch box. Remember that time you went cold turkey and cut all carbs?  Did it suck?  Now think about your kids, if you throw their normal lunch out the window and replace it with tofu skewers and star fruit they aren’t going to be happy.  And you know what else? they aren’t going to eat it!  My favorite example for a healthier option would be PB&J.  You can switch to whole grain bread, use all natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt) and use no sugar added jelly.  Simple changes to make lunch a bit better for you child!

Later in the week I’ll share the second part on my Lunch Packing tips.

 

Back to School Lunches

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Lately I feel like school lunches have become a huge topic of discussion.  Are the “hot lunches” that schools provide the best option for our children?  What makes up a school lunch? Is it mystery meat like that talk about on TV?  How much does a school lunch cost? Now, let’s not forget about packing lunches!  I feel as though it’s turned into some kind of crazy competition to make the most outrageous lunch for your child.  You don’t need to search very hard to find hundreds of ideas for cutesy lunches, some of them are really great ideas.  Some ideas look like you need to have a culinary arts degree to pull it off!  

I have news for you…  There are no awards given to the parent that packs the most expensive lunch.  There are no awards given to the child that eats the most exotic food.  There are no awards given, because there is no competition.  Parents we have enough to worry about, why try to one up each other over lunches?  

 

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I’m turning my focus toward learning what my children need to fuel their bodies.  Being in school all day is hard work and they last thing I want is a hungry crying kid to get off the bus.  Over the next month I’ll be posting my top 5 tips for packing your child’s lunch.  I will also include photos of some of the lunches I pack and where I have found the best deals on lunch and snack supplies.  If you want to see my daily lunch photos be sure to follow me on Instagram Almost_Supermom_Fit and follow me on Facebook.

My Basic Monthly Meal Plan

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Meal planning is a big deal to me, it keeps me sane!

We are busy and dinner is the one time of day that all four of us can sit down together and reconnect.  Between work schedule, kids sports, and life in general it would be easy to get take out several nights a week… but I make it my mission to avoid it.  There are tons of other things that I am willing to give up, but making my family a decent meal isn’t one of them.  Honestly it brings me joy to cook and to hear G say “good dinner Mom.”

Before we get much farther… If you are expecting beautiful “food porn” photos, a complete grocery list including prices, a cute little printable, nutritional information,  all organic ingredients (gluten free, paleo, dairy free) or anything else like that, you can look away now.  I don’t have the time or the technical skills for that. I WILL give you my basic list of easy meals that we eat (and like) on a regular basis.  Each meal has 30 minutes or less of hands on time and no hard to find ingredients.

All these meals can be doubled for larger families.  There are 4 of us, but my kids eat like adults and each meal is plenty enough for dinner. (Most days the hubby takes left overs for lunch the next day.)  You can always double them and save one for later too!

 

Click here to view my list: Basic meal planner  It contains 9 recipes, so if you double it that’s 18 meals!  I also gave you a few small changes you could make to shake up your menu.  For instance make Parmesan Pork Chops one night and the next week sub chicken for pork, it’s like a totally different meal.

So let’s just say you don’t double the meal, but you do use my substitutions… you end up with 13 meals.  So what do you make the rest of the month?  I try to make 3-4 new recipes a month.  If it is something we like then I can add it to our regular rotation. I also have my stand by meals, the ones I always have ingredients on hand for:

Breakfast for dinner (Pancakes, bacon, and eggs)

Fried rice (I use left over meat and 2 scrambled eggs for protein)

Whole wheat pasta and salad

Chef salad

Spicy Pork Noodles

Burgers on the grill

Pork Tenderloin on the grill with veggies

 

Of course we have our nights when nothing goes my way and we eat frozen pizza or grilled cheese.  I’m no Mary Poppins! I also plan that we will eat out once a month (twice if I have a coupon.)  That pretty much covers dinner for 20+ days.

 

Do you already meal plan or are you new to it?  What are your stand by meals?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Outside

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Today my kids get to leave school a bit early (thanks Grandparents day!) and I cannot wait to take them to the park.  Lately life has been so busy.  I have had a hard time being the mom.  I have had a hard time balancing work, kids, sports, my marriage, and keeping up my house.  But today I am going to put all that on the back burner and I am going to play with my kids, because they deserve it and I do too!

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What Is a Challenge Group?

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Okay Friends the 21 Day Fix is on sale this month! I have 2-3 spots available in my Summer 21 Day Fix Challenge group. I have received messages asking what is a challenge group? Why would I join? What do I get?

A Challenge Group is a secret Facebook group for my clients so support each other, get advice, share struggles and of course celebrate reaching our goals!

Why should you join? Why not!?!? I love being surrounded by positive people that lift me up, that’s what a challenge group is all about.

What do you get? When you join my group you get personal coaching from me, I’m there to answer any question you have and offer helpful advice. Also my 21 Day Fix Challenge Group includes 21 Day Fix approved recipes, and a free meal plan for the full 21 days. There won’t be and hard to find food, or meals that take hours to prepare, just good, tasty, healthy food to fuel your body.

Are you ready to join me?

Find me on Facebook AlmostSuper Mom Fit

Fancy up your Coffee for Pennies

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It’s been a long time… a really long time.  No excuses or grand stories, life just happens!

So today I bring you a short post on how to fancy up your coffee in 3 seconds and it only costs you pennies. Get ready for it….
Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the coffee grounds before brewing it and wallah you have a yummy coffee in the morning (or all day if you’re like me.)  A word of caution the cinnamon won’t drain through the filter so don’t dump 3 tablespoons in or it will clog up your coffee maker and cause a huge mess (I may or may not have done this.)
Enjoy!

Back to School and Getting on Schedule

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Ahh yes, back to school time… G started last week and he loves it!  It’s only two days a week, but he is already learning so much and it’s nice for L and I have to have some one on one time.  Starting back to school also means getting back on a regular schedule and a not so “lazy summer” time frame.  Most mornings we are up and out the door by 8:45, which I know isn’t super early, but without our routine we never get anywhere.  So I thought I would share how we made on transition from lazy summer to busy fall schedule.

I made a VERY BASIC printable schedule to keep me on track at home. The weekly list is what helps keep my head above water on the days I feel like I might drown in to dos.  I list my errands, workout schedule, kids activities, work info, to do list, and daily chores all in one place.  Under the To Do section you will see 5 10 15 I write the task next to the numbers, this way I do each task for the allotted about in time then cross it off.  For example if clean out refrigerator is on my to do list I take five minutes and do as much as I can then cross out the five and go on to the next task.  I do this all week until all my tasks are completed!  My daily chores have the days of the week next to them so I can cross them off as I go as well.  Easy peasy, right?

To make G’s life more easy I picked up a weekly calendar at Target for $2 and stuck it to our fridge.  Next I used the cards I had printed, laminated, and stuck magnets on from Confessions of a Homeschooler and wa-la he had his own weekly picture planner!  Now he can find the day of the week and know what we are doing without having to ask.

Even with both those ideas in place life doesn’t always go according to plan… we are doing our best, one step at a time!

What have you done to get ready for the Back to School season?