School starts this week. I must admit that I’m more than a little excited…. But I’m also dreading the fight that will inevitably ensue as we leave the “carefree” days of summer and enter the ordered, routine days of school.
Honestly, I’m super excited about the whole routine thing. Smalls does so much better with a routine, and since I’ve essentially “gone” back to work (even if it is working from home), our “routine” has been dictated by my office hours, business calls, meetings, and project deadlines.
Which is why, when I was approached to share my morning hacks for back to school, I jumped at the chance. Mostly so I could get my house in order (by force if necessary)…but hey, if you can get organized too, then that’s great!
I am so excited to partner with Van’s and Registered Dietitian Joy Bauer, to help make mornings just a little bit easier for us as the school year kicks off.
If your kids are anything like mine, they change their “favorite” breakfast items almost as often as their underwear. Which is usually twice a day around here. Hey, I live with boys.
To combat this, I’ve had to get a little creative with our morning routine, since I’m never sure what’s in or out of the boy’s “favorite foods”.
Keep a collection of go-to items available.
Joy keeps Low-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, nut butters, berries, bananas and grapes so that she can easily top Van’s 8 Whole Grains waffles—super easy, kid-friendly and filling.
I also keep chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, dates, homemade jam, and avocado on hand (you should try those waffles as avocado toast!) in our kitchen.
Checkout the three 5-minute waffle recipes that Joy created to get some inspiration. Not only will they provide a wholesome, filling start to the day, but they are also perfect for picky eaters, and use things you likely already have around the kitchen!
One thing I learned last year is that breakfast has to be fast. Like less than 10 minutes to prepare. Why? Because you’ve also got to get both children fed, lunches packed, teeth and hair brushed, children dressed…you get the picture.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one!
Joy had a similar idea! She stated that “if you plan breakfast the night before, you’ll eliminate 50 percent of the stress during the morning rush.”
I try to keep easy meals on hand. This means that I have a large supply of waffles and toppings that even my picky eaters get excited about.
Don’t fight choices.
Instead, embrace them. Really. My boys much prefer to choose their own meals…and that’s fine. Except when we’re running late and I’m ready to turn into “that mommy.”
At times like those, it’s nice to have a few choices (no more than 2 or 3) that they can choose from.
A favorite in our house includes fun toppings for their breakfast, which is usually waffles, pancakes, toast, or oatmeal.
Make breakfast count.
We parents tend to have full control over what our kids eat for breakfast, and it’s important that we make it count. A truly winning combination includes plenty of fiber and protein, while trying to shoot for low sugar content.
This helps stabilize blood sugar and provides fuel for our kids to make it through until lunch sans hunger meltdown.
Don’t forget “me” time.
Be strategic and sneak some breaks while parenting. Some of my favorites are to pop in a workout video while The Baby takes his nap, or walk the boys to drop Smalls off at school.
It’s super important that your morning routine is not only doable but fun. No one wants to have a routine that makes them want to gouge their eyes out or pull their hair. If you can’t do all five items listed, then just pick a one or two to start.
Trust me on this, no one is going to judge you for giving your kids plain waffles (I do it all the time). But, if you want to win points, be sure that you give them “plain” cinnamon ones. Because you care about them.
Saving Your Sanity
As we shift from lazy summer to busy school, there are bound to be hiccups. It’s quite honestly this time year that I dread the most, which is why I want to make things a bit easier on you. First, if you’re struggling with your morning (or evening) routine, be sure to check out Make Over Your Mornings (this course changed my life!) which will help you create your own morning hacks. Because you need it. Trust me. It’s less than $20 and totally worth it.
I’m also super excited to offer one of my readers a bundle from Van’s!