12 Ways to Reduce Back to School Stress in the Kitchen

Tuesday September 06, 2016

Girl eating sandwich

Despite our best efforts back to school can be a stressful time of the year. Besides the logistical, emotional and financial stresses of get back into routine there is also the dilemma of food preparation. Well, here at Community Natural Foods we have your back.  Check out the list below for tips and tricks for putting your kitchen worries to rest so you can focus on everything else.


  1. Make a weekly menu plan – this may sound like a lot of work but if you do this for six weeks you can then start rotating back to week one and have everything planned out going forward. Shop once per week to get everything you need for your plan.  Only shopping once per week saves you time and money!
  2. Eat whole foods and use the “add in” principle – eating whole foods and reducing process foods is going to keep your family’s brains and bodies healthier and happier. This means less trips to the doctor and better behavior. Ensure the most nutrient dense meals you can by adding in extra fruits, veggies, nut and seeds to what you are already making.
  3. Make kids part of the plan – kids as young as four can be involved in the process of shopping for and creating meals. Sounds like more work than it is worth? As they get older they will be accustomed to helping and will have the skills to make their own lunch and possibly dinners too!
  4. Get food ready the night before – feeling too rushed in the mornings to make lunch? Well, make them the night before, that way you only need to put the finishing touches on the morning of. You could even have breakfast items prepped too. Such items as overnight oats and boiled eggs ease the morning rush.
  5. Eat anxiety reducing foods – are the kids having some back to school jitters? Be sure to include avocados, blueberries, organic dairy products, almonds, oranges, salmon, oatmeal and turkey into your menu plan for the week. These foods are high in antioxidants which help the immune system during times of stress and vitamin and minerals that help calm the body and mind.
  6. Purchase veggies that are already prepped – who couldn’t use a helping hand? Why not purchase prewashed lettuce and pre-cut veggies; they may cost a bit more but it will save you time and ensure you are getting vegetables into your diet.
  7. Use frozen fruits and veggies – frozen fruits and vegetables are just a nutritious as fresh ones so when you are in a rush to get a meal together incorporate these time savers into your meal plan.
  8. Invest in a crockpot, dehydrator, Vitamix and or freezer – these handy kitchen appliances buy you time and make meal preparation more convenient. Who doesn’t want to come home to a ready made meal, thanks to your handy crockpot? Freezers and dehydrators keep vegetables and leftovers ready for quick use. The Vitamix is perfect for making a quick soup or a quick healthy snack to tie the kids over while you are making dinner.
  9. Cook your carbohydrates in advance – such things as quinoa, brown rice and pasta keep well for a couple days in the fridge and even longer in the freezer. Pull them out for a super quick simple pasta or stir fry.
  10. Have a designated meal night – to make your meal planning easier and ease the back to school rush have a designated meal night. If your family loves tacos then have tacos every Tuesday for instance.
  11. Batch cook and freeze for later – spend some time on the weekend cooking up a batch of soup or stew and some muffins or other snack items to have for the week.  It will make your week less hectic.
  12. Keep food simple – your family only needs a simple meal to fill their hungry bellies. Take the pressure off and keep things simple. Such things as a bowl of soup and crackers or a tuna melt with veggies and dip are easy, nutritious and filling.