It’s back-to-school time and I hope you’re feeling re-energized after the summer. This month, we offer ideas, recipes and tips for nourishing stress-free eating, and ensuring your body and brain feel fueled.
To keep you going throughout the day, start with a fortifying breakfast, then a recharging lunch, followed by a delicious supper – adding energizing snacks in between. If that’s too much to change at once, here’s a four-week approach you can follow.
Week 1: Get ahead with your breakfast
Breakfast foods with a low glycemic index1 produce a slower rise in blood glucose concentration after eating. Pack your first meal of the day with carbohydrates (e.g. low-in-sugar breakfast cereals, oatmeal, whole grain toast) and combine with protein (e.g. plain dairy or non-dairy product, eggs, nut butters) to keep you feeling full longer.
Not a morning person? Prepare your breakfast on the weekends or the night before to ensure you still get a strong start to your day.
Here are some ideas to try:
- 16 Make-Ahead Breakfasts You Can Prep the Night Before (Tasty)
- How To Make Steel-Cut Oatmeal in Jars: One Week of Breakfast in 5 Minutes (Kitchn)
- 31 Healthy and Fast Breakfast Recipes for Busy Mornings (Greatist)
- 20 Whole Grain, Savory and Sweet Make-Ahead Breakfasts (Healthy Delicious)
Week 2: Leftovers with a purpose
With a bit of planning and by prepping extra portions, you can transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch. Try doubling up on recipes or buying ingredients that can be used in more than one recipe.
These resources offer good tips on how to master lunch meal prep:
- Creative Ways to Turn Leftover Food into New Meals (Taste of Home)
- How One Basic Meal Can Transform into Many Weekly Meal Options – and Leftovers (CBC Parents)
- 13 Hacks for Packing Quick and Healthy Lunches (SPUD)
- Cheap Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work (EatingWell)
Forgot your lunch? Check out seven places to grab healthy food on campus (Point Grey).
Week 3: Snack attack
Avoid a mid-morning run to the vending machine by preparing healthy snacks. The power of snacks works best when they include a minimum of two food groups – this helps reduce sugar crashes that can come from eating highly processed, easy-to-grab processed foods.
Here are some suggestions to explore:
- 49 Tasty and Healthy Office Snacks You’ll Love (Snacknation)
- 30 Healthy Snacks for Work That You Can Keep at Your Desk (SELF)
Want some delicious make-ahead snacks? Check out these recipes:
- Granola Bark (Smitten Kitchen)
- Kale-Dusted Pecorino Popcorn (Epicurious)
- Homemade Wheat Thins (Smitten Kitchen)
Week 4: Become your own MasterChef
Looking for ways to spice up your meals, try new things or become a more effective meal planner? Consider one of these innovative ideas:
- 13 “MasterChef” Challenges That Will Actually Challenge Contestants (BuzzFeed)
- Tasty’s 7-Day Meal Plan Will Help Make Your Week So Much Easier (Tasty) *Personal note: I tried this and loved it! It definitely takes some dedicated time to prepare, but it was worth giving it a go.
- Eating healthy on a budget:
- Here’s a $50 Grocery List for an Entire Week of Healthy Eating (Global News)
- A Week of 5-Ingredient Dinners for Less Than $50 (EatingWell)