I recently came across a great article from Dairy Goodness with some great tips on how to optimize your time spent organizing and preparing food. This article was written with the family in mind, but these 5 tips can definitely help you save time and effort for your nutrition programs.
1. Prepare Vegetables in Advance
After a visit to the grocery store, we tend to have lots of vegetables for our programs. When you have some spare time, wash and trim those veggies in advance and store them in containers.
If you have a whole school snack program, take the time to separate those vegetables by classroom to make the delivery that much easier when the time comes. Or place the vegetables in re-sealable plastic bags so they are ready for each day of the week.
2. Get Your Fruit Ready
In addition to vegetables, it is such a time saver to wash and prepare fruit in advance. Place the fruits in containers or plastic bags. A lot of fruits like pineapple, oranges, melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.) and even grapes need to be cut into bite sized pieces. Doing this work in advance will get you ready and stop the scrambling during the morning or snack time.
3. Freeze Large Quantities
If your program is lucky enough to have a freezer, make use of it! There are programs out there that make foods from scratch such as muffins, soups, breakfast sandwiches, etc.Some of this food can be made in very large batches and stored in smaller serving sizes.
Also, if there is a great sale on items such as bread, bagels, yogurt or milk, they can be frozen and taken out when you need them. (Kids also love frozen yogurt tubes!)
4. Use Leftovers
We all know using leftovers at home is a time saver and money saver. Apply this to your nutrition programs too! All that fruit that you washed and prepped didn't get used? Serve it with a bowl of yogurt, pancakes, cereal or add them to smoothies. Fruit and some vegetables (like carrots or zucchini) is also great for muffins or other baked goods.
5. Plan Your Menus
Having a schedule of what you will be serving not only helps you plan and get organized in the kitchen, it gets the kids excited about what to expect! Of course, this menu doesn't have to be set in stone, it can be flexible with what's on sale or what is available to you.
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