Back to School

Make school lunch and snack prep as easy as possible!


The first week of school is almost here, and in addition to getting backpacks, school supplies, and outfits put together, it’s time to start planning lunches and snacks. This year, get your children involved in putting their lunches and snacks together and make the process fun and organized with these helpful tips: 


Pre-make portions  

Vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat, crackers and pretzels make great additions to a school lunch or morning snack. They can also easily be put together in advance or the day of. Cut up and pre-wash a couple of varieties from each food group – before you stock up on groceries for the week, talk to your family and find out what food they want to take for their lunch or snack.  

Pre-wash and cut up the food before the school week begins. You can either store the food in large containers for your children to take from each day, or you can get your children to help you create pre-portion containers they can easily grab-and-go in the morning. The key to this tip is variety. No child wants to bring the same food every day for lunch, so make sure there are a couple of different options they can choose from. 


Use what you have

School lunch doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated – in this case, simple is always better. Use up the items you have around the house that are already prepared. For example, heat up leftovers and bring it to school in a thermos, or create an entirely new dish. Leftover meat can be used to make a salad, wrap or sandwich. Leftover vegetables can be added together to make a quick stir-fry or fajita filling. 

Vegetables and fruit don’t have to be cooked or prepared in a special way either – if you do want to add a fun element, get your children to pack a dip like hummus, ranch dressing or yogurt.  


Freeze food for busy times

It’s always a good idea to have a few back-up options, especially during busy weeks. Stock up your freezer with frozen food that can be left in the fridge over night to thaw or re-heated the morning of. For example, if you have leftover soup or chili, freeze some in individually-portioned containers. Leftover pizza can also be frozen and heated up for lunch. Muffins can be added as a snack or a lunch side, and taste just as good if frozen.  

If you have time before the start of the new school year, consider putting together some “emergency” meal options, and regularly check your deep freeze to make sure your stock is replenished.  


Make lunch prep a routine

The best way to make sure lunches are ready and organized is to make it part of your family’s weekly routine. One option is to set aside time before the school week (like Sunday evening) to prepare everything you and your family will need for the coming week, like cutting up fruit and vegetables, portioning meals, and determining snacks. This way, everything can stay in the fridge or an easily-accessible shelf in your pantry so everyone can take what they need each day.  

However, it can be hard to always find enough time every week to do this. If you’re having a busy week, or your schedule is too tight, another option could be to just take some time to plan out lunch options. You don’t have to necessarily put everything together, but go over what food you have available, what potential leftovers you will have from meals, and work with your family to create options for them to have during the week. This will allow everyone to have a good idea of what food they are going to need to take and on what day. Creating a plan will also ensure everyone can find a time that works to make their lunch, whether it’s after school one day or the morning before another day, depending on their schedules. 

It’s almost that time: Get ready for back to school!


August is already half over, so that means that it’s time to get ready for a new school year to begin! The hardest part about the end of the summer is getting back into a routine for the fall – going to bed on time, getting up early, pre-making lunches and snacks, and doing homework. Even though there are still a couple more weeks of summer left, there are a few tricks to ease your family into the fall routine:

Make small changes

Transitioning from summer vacation to school routine can be hard to accomplish if the change is abrupt. Instead, consider making small changes in your family routine during the month of August. For example, get your family in the habit of waking up at a typical school time. Whether by waking them up in person or using an alarm, getting used to early mornings instead of sleeping in will definitely help when September comes around. However, since it is still summer, plan on doing a fun activity in the morning so waking up early isn’t a chore. You can make a fun breakfast together, go outside for a walk, or make a craft.

Bring back regular activities

Summer is about fun, so typical household activities are sometimes forgotten. Slowly reintroduce them into your family’s daily life. These activities, like setting the table, cleaning up dishes, and other chores, will help bring back the feeling of a regular routine, and help everyone get back into the mindset of fall. These activities don’t have to be reintroduced all at once – don’t be afraid to start slow and work towards bringing them into your regular routine once the date gets closer to September.

Stress the importance of sleep

Sleep is important to getting back into a routine – irregular bedtimes can change an individual’s sleeping habits and make it difficult to change. Start by setting bed time closer and closer to the regular school date. This doesn’t have to be done right away – it’s still summer after all, and many people may still have vacation plans! However, be cognizant of bed times, and start announcing when the family should be in bed. You can also start bringing back typical elements of your nighttime routine: start reading stories before bed, planning out an outfit for the next day, and having a bath or shower like you would during the school year.

Eat the right food

Food is also an important part of any routine. During the summer, meals and snacks tend to be more casual than during the year. By bringing back typical breakfast food, cutting back on the sugary snacks, and eating meals at regular times, you can help your family adjust to the end of summer vacation. You can also get a head start on lunch preparations by getting your family to help make lunches for the next day just as they would during the school year.

Create excitement about school

Make school exciting! Get your family involved in back to school shopping, especially when you’re purchasing items that are interesting to them, like sports equipment, colouring utensils, and clothing. Children can also help organize school supplies and packing backpacks – while they may not be as inclined to participate, you can break up the organizing by only doing a small amount each day. This will help your children get into the mindset of school without completely overwhelming them or taking too much time away from their last couple weeks of summer.

School does not have to be daunting – the rest of the summer can still be enjoyed while your family slowly becomes accustomed to living with a routine again!

The countdown begins - get organized for back to school!

The start of school comes around the same time every year, but it is always a rush to get organized for the start of classes come September. Especially for students heading into a new grade or starting university on their own, preparing for the start of classes can be a stressful and chaotic time. However, by starting early and developing a routine that fits your schedule and study habits, the countdown for September doesn’t have to be so daunting!


Shop smart

Before a shopping trip is even planned, it’s important to take stock of the school supplies, clothes, shoes, and other items you already own. Moving up to a new grade or going to university doesn’t mean that a whole new wardrobe or brand-new supplies are required. The same pencils, pens, jeans, and tops used the year before will work perfectly for the new school year. Replacements may be needed for clothing that doesn’t fit or needs repairs, or any supplies that are depleted or need replacing. Make sure to do a thorough inventory and keep a list of items that need to be purchased. While it may seem tempting to buy a stash of supplies or extras, try to avoid doing this. Extra supplies will end up taking up unnecessary space and create clutter, especially because a lot of these extra supplies may not even be needed throughout the year. It’s better to keep track throughout the year of what you use and replace it only when needed.


Create a filing system

Homework, tests, assignments, report cards, permission slips, course outlines – a lot of paper is involved in going to school, and these loose pages often end up lost before the first week is even over. To prevent this from happening, implement a system or routine of dealing with paper as it comes in. Folders or trays can be allotted for paper that needs to be kept, paper that needs to be dealt with right away, and any other category that pertains to your school work. Train yourself to deal with paper as soon as you bring it home. First, determine if you really need to keep it. If it’s a course outline that you have access to online or won’t need to use, place it in the recycling bin. However, if it’s an assignment sheet or permission slip, make sure it’s place in a tray that you know means it must be dealt with or saved for a later date. This will help you keep track of any important documents you bring home, and prevent large piles of clutter from accumulating around your home! Consider implementing a similar system for your email to deal with any messages from teachers or professors.


Designate a study space

To keep organized year-round, establish one space for studying, completing homework, and storing your school items. Whether it’s an entire office or just a desk in the corner of a room in your home, having a designated space for school can help you stay focused. This space should be kept clean and organized – on a weekly basis, go through any papers, books or supplies that have started to clutter and make sure that it is kept clean and clear for you to study. Having a designated space to do work can help you stay on track of homework and assignments because you will always have a place to complete them. No more cleaning off tables last minute, shoving off piles of paper and assorted books, or getting distracted from a cluttered space! A dedicated space means that no unnecessary items or clutter can distract you from the task ahead, and will help keep your mind clear and focused on the task ahead.


Don’t start everything all at once

The start of the school year is often the start of extra-curricular activities like sports, music lessons, volunteering, and part-time jobs. However, starting a busy schedule right from the start can be very stressful, especially for students that are transitioning to higher grade levels, or a new school. The first month of school should be a time dedicated to becoming familiar with a new schedule and routine outside of any extra activities. This way, students can better understand what their homework load is, what their sleep schedule will be like, and how much time they can dedicate to outside activities in the evenings and on the weekends. Remember, it’s important to leave time in your week to relax! For students, September should be about establishing a routine and growing comfortable in a new environment. Try and wait a few weeks before introducing more activities into the daily schedule.