Back to School can make feeding your family a challenge, especially when you have a kid in a competition sport. I know this all too well with a high school aged daughter on a competition dance team! My life is a bit crazy, but I'm not alone. Most kids in after school activities have demands far beyond what was considered normal in my childhood growing up in the not-so-normal 70s and 80s.
Pressure is high and family time is low. It's far too easy to grab convenience foods instead of preparing a quality meal.. While I keep my freezer stocked with quick plant-based options, it should go without saying it's not the healthiest of options.
This year I decided to get bento boxes for my 2 daughters and husband in an effort to streamline the process. We do a lot of bowls at home because it's a really nice way to make everyone happy.
My time during the weekdays is limited. In addition to my daughter's nutty dance schedule, I teach yoga, dedicate time to plant-based/vegan coaching and education and work part-time for my husband and my digital creative agency, Real Pie Media. As much as I would love to spend time making fabulous meals during the day, I've found it much more productive to take a few hours once or twice a week and prepare batches of food to have on hand. In addition to making it easier on me, my family tends to make better choices when the food is readily available.
In addition to the food I make, I also stock the refrigerator with lots of organic fruits, vegetables and pre-washed mixed greens. This week I bought my favorite bread, the Bread Alone Organic whole wheat sourdough, Tofurky hickory smoked deli slices, bacon flavored tempeh, organic tofu and Trader Joe's tahini sauce.
I prepared a lot of food using my new favorite appliance, the pressure cooker and a food processor. I also usually work with 1 or 2 pieces of equipment at a time to limit the amount of clean up. In about 2 1/2 hours I made batches or fresh garbanzo beans, quinoa, brown rice, superfood energy balls from Rich Roll & Julie Piatt's The Plantpower Way cookbook and Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls. My 11 year old daughter who is almost always happy to help me cook made a chia seed pudding using the Vitamix for me as well.
We had plenty of lunches, dinners, snacks and dessert for the week. Getting the kids out the door was relatively easy. Having so many options allowed me to spend the small amount of time we have together catching up instead of worrying about what to prepare.