Hungry Girl: Your Healthy, Back-to-School Food Planner
Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
The school year is underway, and so is the hectic lifestyle that goes with it. Here are five tips for smooth sailing!
Have a breakfast plan.
Mornings are nutty. If the time before school always feels like a scramble (no egg pun intended), prepare a healthy breakfast ahead of time. Overnight oatmeal is a great option; much better than those packs of sugar-loaded instant oats. Another idea? Throw some omelette ingredients into a slow cooker at night, and a family breakfast will be ready in the morning.
Buy kid-centric snacks that you like too.
Lucky Charms and Lunchables aren’t your only options! Check out the Dole Mixations lineup. It’s like the love child of applesauce and fruit salad. And Horizon Cheddar Crackers are both tasty and adorable; they look like little cow faces, and I love that I can have almost 50 crackers per 140-calorie serving. And if you’ve never tried Snikiddy’s line of veggie-boosted snacks, make room in your pantry.
WATCH THIS: Richard Blais Turns an Avocado Into a Dreamy Chocolate Mousse
Get sneaky with veggies.
I’ve got some fun tricks to help veggies fly under the radar. Try turning zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles and baking veggies into French fries! Raw carrot sticks might earn sneers, but baked carrot fries will be a hit. Click for more tips and recipes.
Have a go-to stash of weekday recipes.
Want a recipe that never fails? This slow-cooker macaroni & cheese is packed with veggies but tastes like a cheeseburger. And if you’re used to being greeted by a chorus of “I want chicken nuggets!” or “Can we have pizza?” DIY is totally an option. I’ll never fall out of love with these EZ chicken nuggets, and these mini pizzas are a breeze to make.
Give yourself a break.
You work hard, and sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to cook dinner at the end of a long day. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Take the family out to dinner, but check out my survival guides first, so you can make healthy choices when ordering. Take a moment to look at the menu ahead of time, so you don’t need to make a snap decision when your attention is more divided.
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!