Here is Katie Bugbee, our resident parenting expert to dish out some back-to-school meal ideas and a grocery list. I know I could still use this! I hope it helps you too.
I’m not much of a cook, but I can make kid food. That doesn’t just mean chicken nuggets. I can have fun with things like tacos, banana "sushi" wraps, and yogurt parfaits. And my kids eat it all without whining. Usually.
But now that it’s back-to-school season, the days and nights get a little more hectic for me as a working mom – and especially for my nanny who ends up making all the lunches, snacks and dinners for my kids. They’re only in preschool, but after a fun summer of free play all day, order has to be put back into our chaotic house. Mainly this means healthy food needs to be in the fridge, lunches need to be easy to make, clothes need to be clean and laid out, and all of those art projects need to be organized (in the trash?!).
Here’s a great back-to-school guide of a bunch of helpful ideas >>
I’ve made a list of the refrigerator/pantry staples I must have for back-to-school season (and yes, snack food is included!). This list is what gets me through the week or month to feed my kids… (while my husband and I scrounge on weekend leftovers or just eat salad/cereal/cheese and crackers -- and call it dinner!):
- Whole wheat wraps and bread
- Bagels and/or English muffins
- Whole grain waffles
- All-natural jelly (no corn syrup)
- Sunflower butter
- Berries like blueberries and strawberries
- Bananas and seasonal fruit
- Frozen fruit for smoothie making
- Pretzels, goldfish and raisins (makes a great “trail mix”)
- Cheese and crackers
- Veggies like carrots, peppers, cucumbers and broccoli
- Spreads and dips like hummus, cream cheese, guacamole and salsa
- Non-fat Greek yogurt
- All natural deli meat
- Black beans and baked beans
- Whole grain chips
- Ground turkey meat, chicken breasts, pork chops or pork loin
- Chicken nuggets, fish sticks and mac n’ cheese (always a great backup plan)
- Fresh dough, pizza sauce and fun/healthy pizza toppings
- Honey (great for dipping chicken in and drizzling on yogurt)
- Rice, couscous, orzo and pasta
- Ice cream and cones
Anything else? Please add your favorite kid-food staples in the comments below. Make sure to keep an ongoing shopping list on your counter so you or your nanny know to replace items before you run out.
And be sure to watch these videos I made with the Care.com team for breakfast, lunch and after-school snack ideas.