Make Your Life Easier with These Back-to-School Meal Prep Tips

Back to School Meal Planning Tips

06 Oct 2022

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Make Your Life Easier with These Back-to-School Meal Prep Tips

As the summer winds down and school starts again, it can be tough to get back into the swing of things. One way to make the transition a little easier is to plan meals ahead of time. By taking some time to plan out your meals for the week, you can save yourself a lot of stress and hassle later on. To help you get started, here are some back-to-school meal-planning tips:  

1- Make breakfast a priority

School mornings can be hectic, especially if you’re trying to get everyone out the door on time. That’s why it’s important to make breakfast a priority. A healthy breakfast helps to fuel your body and your brain, giving you the energy you need to get through the day. And when it comes to back-to-school meal planning, there are numerous easy and healthy breakfast options that you can prepare ahead of time. Overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, and protein-packed smoothies are all great choices you can make the night before. So make breakfast a priority this school year, and start your day off right with a nutritious meal.  

2- Ask your kids how they eat at school

Knowing what to pack for your kid’s lunch daily can be challenging. Will they eat what you pack? And will it be enough to keep them going until dinner time? An excellent way to get some insight into your child’s school lunch habits is to ask them how they eat at school. Find out what foods they like and don’t like and how much they typically eat. This information can help you make better choices when packing their lunch and ensure they get the nutrition they need. Plus, it shows your kids that you’re interested in their eating habits and wants to ensure they’re happy with their lunchtime experience.  

3- Have an after-school snack ready

It’s no secret that kids are always on the go. Between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and socializing with friends, they rarely have time to sit for a proper meal. As a result, most kids rely on unhealthy snacks to tide them over until dinner. If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, you may wonder what you can do to encourage his healthy eating habits. One way to promote healthy snacking is to have a nutritious after-school snack ready for your kid when they get home from school. This snack will give them the energy they need to finish their homework and still have time for fun. Some good options for after-school snacks include fruit, yogurt, whole-wheat crackers, and veggie sticks. You can help your child make better food choices and develop lifelong healthy eating habits by providing a healthy snack.  

4- Make lists, organize items, and have a plan

If you’re like most parents, meal planning is probably not at the top of your list of favorite things to do. While it can be challenging to come up with new and healthy ideas that your kids will eat, getting them to sit down and eat a meal you’ve prepared can be even more challenging. However, simple tips can make meal planning more accessible and successful.  

First, list all the meals you want to make for the week. Try to include a mix of familiar favorites and new dishes.  

Then, organize the items on your list by day and by meal. This planning will help you make sure you have everything you need when it’s time to cook.  

Finally, plan what you’ll do if your kids don’t like what’s on the menu. If they refuse to eat, try offering a simple alternative like peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese. With some planning, you can take the stress out of mealtimes and provide your kids with healthy, delicious food they’ll enjoy eating.  

Also Read: Eating healthy & fresh – challenges for a family

5- Prep meals and chop veggies in advance

One of the best ways to ensure that your kids are eating nutritious meals is to meal plan ahead of time. Prepping meals and chopping veggies on the days you are least busy can save a lot of time and hassle during the week. Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated – choose a few healthy recipes your family enjoys and make a grocery list accordingly. Then, the day or two before you cook, take some time to chop vegetables and prepare any other ingredients you’ll need. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your family always has access to healthy, homemade meals.  

6- Pack lunch at night

If you’re like most parents, packing your kids’ lunches is an everyday battle. With your busy schedules and your kids being picky eaters, it can be tough to come up with healthy, balanced meals that they will enjoy. However, a simple solution can help: pack your kids’ lunches at night. Meal planning becomes much easier when you have the time to sit down and think about what you’ll pack ahead of time. You can also take advantage of leftovers and ensure that each lunch has a variety of food groups. And if you’re short on time, plenty of healthy, prepackaged options will make your life a lot easier. So the next time you feel stressed about packing lunch, try doing it at night and see how much simpler it becomes. 

Hire a personal chef for meal planning  

Many parents struggle to strike the right balance when it comes to meal planning. You want your kids to eat healthy food that will nourish their growing bodies, but you may also not want to spend hours in the kitchen every night. One solution that more and more parents are considering is hiring a personal chef. A personal chef can help you create a healthy, balanced meal plan that fits your family’s needs and schedule. They can do all the grocery shopping and cooking, so you don’t have to lift a finger. And best of all, they can provide your kids with delicious meals they’ll enjoy eating. Hiring a personal chef is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a hassle-free way to improve your family’s meal planning. 


Related Post

Meal Kits vs. Personal Chef – Which is right for you-CookinGenie

12 Aug 2021

In this day and age, there are seemingly endless options to feed ourselves. One popular method is the do-it-yourself meal kits. There are hundreds of companies offering this service; therefore, a variety of options.

Another option, personal chef services, are gaining traction and becoming a trend for their unique and incredible dining experiences.

Today we compare and contrast the two most amazing services here.

Meal Kits:

 We talked to one of our friends about her experience with certain popular meal delivery services.

We asked her if the experience of using a meal kit was easier, tastier, healthier, and cheaper than the companies advertise?

Overall, she said she had a positive experience with the service. There’s a great collection of healthy, fresh dishes. The boxes came with conveniently sized, pre-portioned ingredients and straightforward, easy-to-follow recipes that came together in 45 minutes or less. It was much quicker and easier than meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for yourself.

She could customize her orders to have more or fewer meals per box. As soon as the next day, the boxed food would arrive at her door. The service accommodates those with allergies and dietary restrictions, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free, and paleo options.

When the boxes arrive, the ingredients are of good quality and taste, but it depends on the expertise of the person cooking. She spends about sixty dollars a week to get six meals. Some premium items cost a little more, but generally, you can expect to pay about 10 dollars per meal. It is a bit more cost-effective than eating out.

She also mentioned that the ingredients come with excess packaging, leaving boxes, plastic sleeves, and disposable containers. Occasionally boxes come with missing ingredients or items that are wilted, moldy, or otherwise spoiled.

For her and her family, the portion sizes are mostly sufficient. There are no leftovers.

Finally, while the dishes are simple and easy to make, she has to cook herself. She spends about 45 minutes cooking a typical dish from the box and about another half hour or so cleaning up afterward.

Personal Chef Service:

Personal chefs have been around for a long time. Traditionally used by the rich and famous, now there are more options for affordable personal chef services. Personal chefs provide many helpful services. Some chefs specialize in meal prep for busy families, while some create special occasion multi-course meals for an in-home dining experience for you and your guests. The costs vary depending on the special occasion and the amount of food needed. Meal prepping is comparable to Meal kits, whereas the multi-course meals will depend on the number of guests and the number of courses on the menu.

Personal chefs shop groceries for you, come to your house, and cook for you right in your kitchen. After cooking, they clean up after themselves. With a personal chef, you can customize your meals based on your dietary needs. They can take care of meal prep for the family and create a custom menu for your dinner party as well. They hand-select the ingredients and cook them in front of you. Quality and fresh food are always a priority. With a personal chef, you don’t spend time cooking or cleaning up. Time-saving is a huge bonus.

Personal chefs are gaining traction as more and more people are working longer hours and have demanding lives. People are focused on health and also looking for enriching experiences. The focus is not only fresh, wholesome food, but a personal chef strives to provide a unique dining experience for you, your family, and your friends.

Conclusion:

In the above, we discussed both meal kit service and personal chef service. Let us know in the comment section, which services are your favorite and why.

If you are​ planning to host a dinner party or looking for an unique dining experience with a personal chef, please​ try CookinGenie.

Personal chef service by CookinGenie:

CookinGenie offers a wide variety of delicious foods from different cuisines, in family-friendly sizes. Like these services, they are very accommodating of allergies and dietary restrictions. They tailor a meal to fit your exact needs. You can use the website to book a chef, pick out the menu, schedule a time, and pay in just a few clicks. The chefs (‘genies’) are friendly, professional, and lend a personal touch to your dining experience. With a varied lineup of talented home cooks and trained professional chefs on the platform, CookinGenie strives to provide a delicious wow factor. When you order from CookinGenie, you are supporting a local family-run business and local chefs. If you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to have fresh, healthy meals while saving time, personal chefs provided by CookinGenie are worth a try! Book your chef here.

 

Written by:  Jared Kent

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Healthy Eating on Vacation

11 Oct 2022

When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to let your healthy eating habits slip. Between indulging in delicious local cuisine and celebrating with cocktails, it can be hard to stick to your usual routine. But just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you must abandon all of your good habits. You can enjoy your vacation while still eating healthy with some planning and effort. Here are some tips to help you do just that. 

Why is vacation eating difficult?

Eating healthy on vacation can be difficult for a variety of reasons. For one thing, you’re probably not used to the local cuisine. This unfamiliarity can be a problem if you don’t know what to order or how to pronounce the dish you’re interested in trying. In addition, it can also be difficult because you’re often on the go and may not have time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal. Thus, you may find yourself snacking on unhealthy foods or grabbing a quick bite to eat between sightseeing tours.  

However, with some planning and preparation before you travel and packing some healthy snacks, you can ensure that your vacation eating doesn’t derail your healthy eating habits.

1- Do some research before you travel

If you’re worried about eating healthy on vacation, the best thing to do is research before going. Find out what the local cuisine is like and look for healthy options. For example, if you’re traveling to Italy, you may want to research some traditional Italian recipes that are relatively healthy. This way, you’ll know what to order when you’re at a restaurant, and you’ll be able to find healthier versions of your favorite dishes. 

2- Bring along some snacks

Another way to ensure you eat healthy on vacation is to pack some snacks. This way, you’ll have something healthy to eat no matter where you are or how long it takes to find a meal. Some great travel snacks include fruits and vegetables, whole-grain crackers, nuts, and yogurt.

3- Stay hydrated

It’s essential to stay hydrated when you’re traveling, especially if you are in a hot climate. Drinking plenty of water will help you avoid dehydration and fill you up, making you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Be sure to carry a water bottle to always have water on hand.

4- Avoid restaurants that serve only junk food

One of the easiest ways to ruin your healthy eating habits is to dine at restaurants that serve nothing but junk food. If you’re trying to eat healthy on vacation, try to find restaurants serving healthy options. You can usually find this information online or by asking the hotel staff for recommendations.

Also Read: Health Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef

5- Limit your alcohol intake

It’s easy to overindulge in alcohol when you’re on vacation, but too much alcohol can quickly ruin your healthy eating habits. If you drink, do so in moderation, and be sure to eat a meal first. This way, you can avoid making unhealthy choices later on.

6- Hire a personal chef for your vacation rental

Hiring a personal chef can also be a great way to ensure you eat healthily while on vacation. A personal chef can cook delicious and nutritious meals for you and your family, so you don’t have to worry about finding time to cook or eat out every day. This option can be great if you’re traveling with young children or trying to stick to a specific diet. In addition, having a personal chef can also help you save money since you won’t have to eat out as often. If you’re interested in hiring a private chef, research to find someone who is reputable and can meet your specific needs. 

7- Healthy vacation meal ideas

One of the hardest things about being on vacation is eating healthily. The delicious food options can be tempting, but if you want to stay feeling good on your trip, it’s essential to make some wise choices. Here are a few ideas for healthy vacation meals that will help you stay on track: 

  • Start your day with a nutritious breakfast. Try yogurt with fresh fruit or whole-grain toast with avocado. 
  • For lunch, go for something light but filling, like a salad or soup. 
  • When it comes to dinner, grilled fish or chicken is always a good option. Pair it with some vegetables and brown rice for a complete meal. 

Of course, you should also drink plenty of water throughout the day. And if you want to indulge in a sweet treat now and then, that’s perfectly fine! 

Overall, the best way to ensure you’re eating healthy on vacation is by being prepared ahead of time. A little research and planning can go a long way in helping you stay on track. And if all else fails, remember that moderation is key. Enjoy your vacation, and don’t be too stressed about staying perfectly healthy. Just focus on having fun and making memories. 

 

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How to Cook Meat Safely - CookinGenie blog

28 Sep 2021

There are many foods that can cause illness when handled incorrectly, but one of the most common instances of serious foodborne illness comes from the undercooking or mishandling of meat. Raw meat is often full of fecal matter from the animal, which can contain a host of bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens. Because of this, it is crucial to handle raw meat carefully and cook it to a safe temperature to kill as many pathogens as possible. If not, an undercooked piece of meat can easily get someone sick.

While this may sound simple, there are some intricacies to cooking meat safely, and not all meats are safe to eat at the same temperature. Here are some of the key things to remember when cooking meat and how some of the most popular meats need to be cooked in order to be safe to serve.

Keep raw meats separate from other foods—including other meats

It’s common sense that the juices from raw meat should stay away from fresh produce but it’s also good practice to keep raw meat away from other raw meat. As you’ll see with the minimum required internal temperatures, not all meats are safe at the same time. Chicken, for example, needs to be cooked more than steak. So, if you get the juices from raw chicken over your steak, the steak may be cooked all the way through, but the residual juice from the chicken may not be.

Also be sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils for different kinds of meat, wash your hands after handling raw meat, and disinfect any surfaces the meat may have come into contact with.

Minimum required internal temperatures

Poultry, like chicken and turkey requires the most cooking, while pork, beef, lamb, and seafood requires less. Note that ground meat of any kind requires more cooking than a whole piece of the same meat. This is because ground meat, with an increased surface area and the potential to come from more than one individual animal, has more exposure to bacteria. To take the temperature of a protein, insert a clean, sanitized thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and wait for the thermometer to read a temperature. For many meats, the meat needs to hold that temperature for a given period of time before it’s considered safe.

Also note that after you remove your meat from the heat, it will continue to cook for several more minutes in a process known as carry-over cooking, which will raise the internal temperature 5-10⁰F, so if your meat is a couple degrees under the minimum required internal temperature when you measure it, it’ll be safe to serve by the time you eat it.

The following are the minimum required internal temperatures for different proteins.

Poultry—Including whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck: 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds

This also includes any stuffing inside of a bird (think thanksgiving) as well as any casseroles, stuffed pastas, or stuffed chicken breasts. When temping whole birds, make sure to insert the thermometer underneath the thigh, which is the thickest part of the bird.

Ground meat—Including beef, pork, lamb, veal, and ground seafood: 155⁰F for 15 seconds

Note that a medium burger is 140-145⁰F, and a well-done burger is 160⁰F.Eating a burger less than well-done could increase your chances of getting sick, which is why restaurants have the note at the bottom of their menus denoting the increased risk of foodborne illness from consuming undercooked meat.

Injected meat/brined meat—Including brined hams and roasts injected with flavor: 155⁰F for 15 seconds

Eggs that are meant to be held hot: 155⁰F for 15 seconds
Eggs that are to be served immediately: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

Chops/steaks of red meat—Including beef, lamb, veal, and pork: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

All of these meats will be a little pink at this temperature, but they’re safe to eat. A medium-rare steak is between 130-135⁰F, so there is a higher risk associated with eating steak under medium.

Whole roasts of pork, beef, veal, or lamb: 155⁰ for 4 minutes

Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Because roasts are much bigger, the temperature needs to hold much longer to ensure it’s cooked through.

Whole seafood—Including whitefish, shellfish, and crustaceans: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

This applies to whole pieces of fish and shellfish/crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and lobster. With bivalves such as mussels or clams, there is no need to measure temperature, they are safe when the shells open.

The bottom line

Overall, cooking meat to safe temperatures is a very simple, but very important task in the kitchen. Having a digital thermometer makes everything easier. If you’re unsure of how the meat needs to be cooked, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and slightly overcook a piece of meat than to get someone sick. When you book a chef from CookinGenie, you can trust that they’ll cook your meat so that it’s not only safe to eat, but also delicious.

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