School is starting, which means it’s time to get back into the routine of actually having a routine. With rushed mornings and activity-filled evenings, it’s easy swing by the drive-thru (especially when pressured by cranky kids), but with some planning and prep, you can have kid-friendly, low carb breakfasts, snacks, lunches and dinners the whole family will love. Here’s how:
- Clean your kitchen and shop. Toss those tempting treats and sugary snacks that may have been a staple of summer barbecues and pool days. After you’ve given your kitchen and pantry a solid once-over, take your pick of these 12 low carb back to school recipes and hit the grocery store (make sure you read your food labels… you can even get your kids involved in shopping and making healthy choices.)
- Trick out your tools. Double-check that you’ve got insulated lunch bags to tote lunches, snack-size and lunch-size portable containers and water bottles.
- Pack lunch the night before. Put the kids to work! Give them a few choices, such as veggies or bell peppers; hummus or ranch; ham or turkey on their wrap or sandwich. Have everything prepped so all they have to do is pick and pack.
- Eat breakfast. This goes for the whole family. Start with a nutrient-rich breakfast to keep everyone’s energy levels and hunger under control throughout the day. It could be as simple as a grab-and-go hard-boiled egg (and a piece of low sugar fruit), low carb Mini Muffins, or an Atkins shake or bar. You can also make a low carb Garden Frittata on Sunday, and heat up servings throughout the week.
- Stock up on snacks. Almonds, string cheese, cut-up veggies and pieces of fruit can help round out any long day.
- De-stress dinner. Sharing a family meal is an important way to check in with your family and instill healthy habits. Stow all the electronics, and try these low carb family-friendly dinner ideas (from my book, Eat Right, Not Less):**
- Burger bar: Go with beef, buffalo, turkey or chicken breasts, and lay out all the fixings. Skip the bun and wrap your burger in romaine lettuce leaves.
- Salad bar: Grab a rotisserie chicken or two from the grocery store, and put out the salad greens and fixings or try our Taco Salad (you also can substitute chicken or any other protein).
- Taco bar: Start with ground beef, carnitas, rotisserie chicken or Turkey Tacos. Add beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes, sour cream, salsa and guac. Make it low carb with a low carb tortilla or skip the tortilla and beans and turn your taco into a bowl.
- Chili bar: When the cooler weather creeps in, add some low carb chili, like our Two-Step Salsa Chili, to your slow cooker in the morning and lay out all the garnishes in the evening when you get home: shredded cheese, olives, jalapenos, guac, sour cream and more.
**Make extra and any of these low carb dinners transform into the perfect day-after low carb lunch.