As a business owner and working mom with three very active kids (ages 14, 12, and 8), our life is nonstop, on-the-go, fast-paced, happy, organized chaos. I’m smiling as I write this because I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by, and how hectic our lives have become.
Early on, I realized my family thrived on routine to maintain a fast-paced lifestyle and everyone’s sanity. Certain things were non-negotiable, from our bedtime and morning routines (mine is as important) to our food. The desire to feed my family healthy, delicious food put my degree in nutrition into practice, and it was no small challenge. I began devoting a significant amount of my time to meal planning and kitchen organization so, with our chaotic schedules, I could create delectable meals with ease. Creating an organized kitchen freed up more time and filled me with joy and a sense of pride. I decided I wanted to share my system with other mothers, so I wrote a cookbook called This Kitchen Is for Dancing and filled it with over 100 wholefood recipes that are simple, healthy, and delicious, with chapters on organization and shopping.
Trust me; if you eat nutritious food, you’ll feel fantastic and have plenty of time for dancing!
The fall season is busy, and after summer, we begin to re-engage with the school and other responsibilities. Planning is vital to enjoying a cozy bowl of soup, hearty chilli, or warm oats, eggs, or chia pudding. Wholefood can do so much good for the body and soul, and food connects and reconnects us to one another. Humans thrive on routine; the rhythm of the seasons and flavors of fall signal to our body that it’s time to get back to “business.” Each family dynamic is different, but if school-aged children drive your schedule, you know how valuable a routine can be for growing a healthy family.
Creating a routine for every meal takes a commitment if you want to safeguard this precious time to gather and check in with your family in today’s busy world. Here are practical tips to help you ease back into fall after the summer holidays.
Wake up before the kids. My life changed when I started getting up before the kids, and it allowed me time for self-care as I divided this precious hour between prayer, planning, and movement. I am an early riser, which means I go to bed early. You can’t stay up late and get up early, at least not for long. So to greet my kids with a smile in the morning and have enough energy for the day, sticking to my early routine is essential.
For success, be ready for the day. The night before, help the kids pick out clothes, organize backpacks, and review the next day’s activities so everyone is up to speed on what’s happening (hello, family calendar and communication). You might want to prep breakfast ahead (yes, this is the most important meal of the day, especially for focusing in school) by making overnight oats or chia pudding, or preparing smoothie ingredients so that you can add and blend. Leave as little undone as possible. The mornings are always hectic and fast-paced, so the less you need to take care of, the better.
Meal plan and prep
My favorite chapter in This Kitchen Is for Dancing is chapter 4 on meal prep. If you aren’t already doing meal prep, this will be a game-changer and will become second nature. A well-stocked fridge and pantry allow you to put together healthy, nutritious meals with ease during those busy weekday nights.
As you fall back into your routine this season, remember not to sweat the small stuff (a work in progress at my house), and find the harmony and joy that healthy habits can bring to your family.
You can find my book This Kitchen Is for Dancing in natural health stores and on amazon.com