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truLOCAL's easy autumn meal tips

Autumn brings added stress on meal prep time so we have some kid-friendly tips to beat the fall.


Well, it’s late September and it definitely doesn’t feel like summer anymore. The days are shorter, it’s noticeably colder, and the leaves are already changing colour. This is the time of year when most households find that their go-to meals don’t seem to work the same way because we are not sitting outside all day beside our barbecues. With the kids in school, we should have more time but with the days getting shorter, somehow it feels like we have less time. One of the first casualties of the fall readjustments usually involves the amount of effort we put into cooking. Fall means less time to prep and most meals are cooked in the oven rather than on the barbecue. How did we have time for after-dinner walks in August? Now, we feed the kids and it’s already past their bedtime!

They say that it takes a village to raise a child so we want to do our part by giving you some time-saving meal tips to help you get through this transition into the new fall normal. 

Breakfast

Now that the excitement of the first day of school has worn off, kids will try any and every excuse to sleep in, pushing everyone’s morning schedule back. This means less time to get ready, get fed, and get out. And guess what? You probably forgot to make their lunches last night so you need breakfast solutions that are fast and easy so that you can quickly make lunches. Here’s how we survive breakfast:

Fill your mug

Try microwaving an egg in a mug. Combine 2 eggs and your favourite omelet ingredients (grated cheese, diced onion or bell pepper) in a microwave-safe coffee mug coated with non-stick spray. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove from the microwave and stir before cooking for about another minute or until the eggs are completely set. Now it can go on an English muffin or just right on a plate. 

Morning boost

Why wait for the morning rush to make oatmeal when you can easily make it the night before? Combine ⅓ cup milk, ¼ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a jar, add a lid, and shake it until it’s mixed. Now you can stir in your favourite fresh fruit and put it in the fridge overnight. Future you will thank you when you are so crammed for time tomorrow that you have to choose between cooking breakfast or brewing coffee. Let’s face it, you go for the coffee every time and then you are hungry before your first meeting. Simplify with this delicious and nutritious no-cook oatmeal that can be customized to suit everyone’s preferences.

Lunch

It’s no surprise that lunches are a bit of a pinch point when the new September routine comes flying at us. Lunches take time to make that you just don’t have and you just can’t rely on kids to forage the school playground like cattle like they did in the old days. Don’t worry, we have some easy, kid-approved lunches to try:

Roll-up for the win

It doesn’t get easier than this. Grab some sliced deli meat, maybe some cheese, and roll it all up into a tortilla and lunch is done. You can add some variety by adding a dipping sauce, mixing up your meats, or adding extras like lettuce, sliced pickle, grated carrot, or diced bell pepper.

Quesadillas

If you have more time or just like a crispier crunch to lunch, you could take all of these same ingredients and make a quesadilla instead. In a non-stick pan on medium heat, lay a tortilla flat in the pan and add grated cheese, diced meat, and veggies to half of the tortilla. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over and cook until the bottom tortilla starts to brown, then flip and cook the other side. These handheld beauties are great for lunch either hot or cold.

Dinner

By the time you get the kids home from school, dinner is somehow already late (and the kids have no problem letting you know that). You need dinner fast so here with some fast dinner winners:

Ground beef is your go-to

Ground beef is very versatile and is always better when defrosted overnight in the fridge but… in a pinch, you could speed that up with other methods to thaw the frozen meat. Once cooked, ground beef can easily make tacos, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce, and much more. Save time by browning more than one pound at a time so that it is ready for you later in the week to just heat up and make a meal. Or just have a package defrosting in the fridge so that you are ready for those nights where you need a quick dinner because of an unforeseen shift in the meal plan. 

Get the kids distracted, uh, we mean involved

Most nights, you need to keep the kids distracted so that you can just get through cooking dinner but somehow, they always keep you from doing just that. Why not put them to work and have them make the meals with you to speed it up. Kids love to help and should be taught how to cook so this is win-win! Tag them in for meals like build your own pita pizzas, diy burrito bowls, or meatball nachos. Kids are more likely to eat meals that they can claim some ownership in helping with - now if you could just get them to help clean up!

Lessen the burden of cleaning up after a meal

If the kids won’t help with clean-up then we need to make it easier to do without them. We likeone-pan recipes like steak fajitas, pesto fish and potatoes, chicken sausage skillet, bacon wrapped cod and veggies, or chicken stir-fry. Many of these meals are very quick and have leftovers so you can speed up tomorrow’s lunch at the same time! You can always find something easy and quick to make from the recipe section of our website and we frequently add new easy recipes for you to try.

Have someone else cook for once

truLOCAL has always offered convenience by delivering amazing food right to your door but we recently introduced our new line of prepared meals that you can easily heat in the microwave, oven, or even toss the whole bag into boiling water. Each meal comes premade, preseasoned, and precooked so you really only have to get it hot and it’s ready. You don’t have to have many cooking skills - you only have to open your freezer and boil some water. Our prepared line of dishes include pulled pork, pulled beef, and pulled chicken and are currently being tested as add-ons in Ontario but we hope they will be available all over Canada soon. 

We hope that these tips help simplify the September time crunch. We know that life seems to get harder each fall but remember that there are tools out there and if anyone deserves a bit of a break, it’s you. Don’t worry too much. This happens to everyone each year and somehow we make it through and things get better… like in November when daylight savings gives us a bit of extra time. Best of luck!


Article by: Steven Tippin



Posted on September 24th, 2021