Was your kitchen (and kids) ready for back-to-school?

WhatsOn Sep 16, 2020 by Barbara-Ann MacEachern Peterborough This Week

With parents everywhere shaking off the dust of back-to-school routines after the March break that lasted six months, Peterborough bulk food expert Amy Lichter is stepping up with some tips and tricks to ease the transition.

Preparation is the key to a successful and stress-free move into back-to-school routines, says Lichter, starting from the grocery shop onward.

“Everyone’s schedule may have changed, but at the end of the day, kids still need healthy, nutritious meals at school, like always,” says Lichter, who is the marketing manager for Sysco Ontario North, as well as a mom of two school-age girls.

Tweaking just a few things in your day-to-day life can go a long way to creating a recipe for success and a system that can be maintained throughout the school year.

 

 

BE PREPARED

While many existing supports like breakfast programs are not currently available in many schools, making sure you have everything your child may need to fuel them through the day becomes vitally important, says Lichter.

Have your freezer stocked with versatile staples that can be used for multiple meals like frozen chicken breasts, ground beef and frozen fruit for smoothies, baking and snacks.

“Then you don’t have a lot of different things, but they are the workhorses of a lot of dishes,” says Lichter.

BE ORGANIZED

When it comes to easy-to-prepare dinners for busy nights full of homework and activities, and kid-friendly lunch options, a little effort can go a long way says Lichter.

She has a simple system of a clipboard with paper next to the family freezer, so a full inventory is always at hand. When something is removed from the freezer, it is removed from the list, making shopping prep a lot easier.

Cutting up fresh vegetables and portioning out other fresh snacks is another easy way to ensure kids have all they need to be packing healthy, balanced lunches for themselves.

HAVE THE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

Lichter recommends investing in a food saver as a way to buy in bulk, then break food down into convenient, meal-sized portions as a way of saving money and time for busy families.

Since teachers and school staff are necessarily going to be more hands-off this year and there is an emphasis on zero-waste lunches, Lichter also recommends that parents carefully consider the storage containers they are sending to school with their kids, particularly for younger children. Lunch planning is also a good time to involve your children in the process, she says, asking them how they would like their lunch divided, based on the number of nutrition breaks during the school day as well as making sure they can comfortably open all the containers being sent in their lunch bag. Always make sure to keep plenty of ice packs and a thermos on hand to ensure your child’s food is being stored safely at the appropriate temperature.

 

MAKE MORE

Always plan for leftovers.

Lichter’s family tries to plan dinners around the potential for leftovers the following day: one big salad a week (taco salad is her family’s favourite) so smaller salads with some extra protein added can double as lunch the following day, or a large slow cooker recipe that can serve an additional lunch, or even second dinner, to maximize time spent preparing healthy meals.

“It’s always thinking ahead,” she says.

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

With two girls, nine and 12 years old, Lichter says allowing them to take the reins provides not only a good learning experience, but also a sense of ownership in what they are eating. She chooses to get her kids involved in cooking one meal a week for the family and packing their own lunches.

“Having them involved, it helps getting them to try new food and new flavours,” she says, adding that the girls pick the recipe, check for all the ingredients and make the meal themselves.

The only rule is that the meal is balanced, including protein and lots of vegetables.

“It really helps them learn new skills and helps support their growing independence,” she says.

Sysco has traditionally been a food service company, but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, has transitioned to also serve individuals and families with Sysco@home.

“We felt we needed a way to help people in the community to safely get the food they need,” says Lichter of the transition while there were some shortages in traditional grocery stores.

Whether it be custom cut meats, fresh produce, freezer and pantry staples or household supplies, customers can now shop online and either have their groceries delivered (within certain areas) or arrange for curbside pickup.

The new program also offers mixed meat and mixed produce boxes as kind of a one-stop-shop for some families.

“You can find enough for a few meals just in one of those boxes,” she adds.

Was your kitchen (and kids) ready for back-to-school?

Peterborough bulk food expert and mom of two Amy Lichter shares some tips and tricks to help with back-to-school

WhatsOn Sep 16, 2020 by Barbara-Ann MacEachern Peterborough This Week

With parents everywhere shaking off the dust of back-to-school routines after the March break that lasted six months, Peterborough bulk food expert Amy Lichter is stepping up with some tips and tricks to ease the transition.

Preparation is the key to a successful and stress-free move into back-to-school routines, says Lichter, starting from the grocery shop onward.

“Everyone’s schedule may have changed, but at the end of the day, kids still need healthy, nutritious meals at school, like always,” says Lichter, who is the marketing manager for Sysco Ontario North, as well as a mom of two school-age girls.

Tweaking just a few things in your day-to-day life can go a long way to creating a recipe for success and a system that can be maintained throughout the school year.

 

 

BE PREPARED

While many existing supports like breakfast programs are not currently available in many schools, making sure you have everything your child may need to fuel them through the day becomes vitally important, says Lichter.

Have your freezer stocked with versatile staples that can be used for multiple meals like frozen chicken breasts, ground beef and frozen fruit for smoothies, baking and snacks.

“Then you don’t have a lot of different things, but they are the workhorses of a lot of dishes,” says Lichter.

BE ORGANIZED

When it comes to easy-to-prepare dinners for busy nights full of homework and activities, and kid-friendly lunch options, a little effort can go a long way says Lichter.

She has a simple system of a clipboard with paper next to the family freezer, so a full inventory is always at hand. When something is removed from the freezer, it is removed from the list, making shopping prep a lot easier.

Cutting up fresh vegetables and portioning out other fresh snacks is another easy way to ensure kids have all they need to be packing healthy, balanced lunches for themselves.

HAVE THE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

Lichter recommends investing in a food saver as a way to buy in bulk, then break food down into convenient, meal-sized portions as a way of saving money and time for busy families.

Since teachers and school staff are necessarily going to be more hands-off this year and there is an emphasis on zero-waste lunches, Lichter also recommends that parents carefully consider the storage containers they are sending to school with their kids, particularly for younger children. Lunch planning is also a good time to involve your children in the process, she says, asking them how they would like their lunch divided, based on the number of nutrition breaks during the school day as well as making sure they can comfortably open all the containers being sent in their lunch bag. Always make sure to keep plenty of ice packs and a thermos on hand to ensure your child’s food is being stored safely at the appropriate temperature.

 

MAKE MORE

Always plan for leftovers.

Lichter’s family tries to plan dinners around the potential for leftovers the following day: one big salad a week (taco salad is her family’s favourite) so smaller salads with some extra protein added can double as lunch the following day, or a large slow cooker recipe that can serve an additional lunch, or even second dinner, to maximize time spent preparing healthy meals.

“It’s always thinking ahead,” she says.

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

With two girls, nine and 12 years old, Lichter says allowing them to take the reins provides not only a good learning experience, but also a sense of ownership in what they are eating. She chooses to get her kids involved in cooking one meal a week for the family and packing their own lunches.

“Having them involved, it helps getting them to try new food and new flavours,” she says, adding that the girls pick the recipe, check for all the ingredients and make the meal themselves.

The only rule is that the meal is balanced, including protein and lots of vegetables.

“It really helps them learn new skills and helps support their growing independence,” she says.

Sysco has traditionally been a food service company, but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, has transitioned to also serve individuals and families with Sysco@home.

“We felt we needed a way to help people in the community to safely get the food they need,” says Lichter of the transition while there were some shortages in traditional grocery stores.

Whether it be custom cut meats, fresh produce, freezer and pantry staples or household supplies, customers can now shop online and either have their groceries delivered (within certain areas) or arrange for curbside pickup.

The new program also offers mixed meat and mixed produce boxes as kind of a one-stop-shop for some families.

“You can find enough for a few meals just in one of those boxes,” she adds.

Was your kitchen (and kids) ready for back-to-school?

Peterborough bulk food expert and mom of two Amy Lichter shares some tips and tricks to help with back-to-school

WhatsOn Sep 16, 2020 by Barbara-Ann MacEachern Peterborough This Week

With parents everywhere shaking off the dust of back-to-school routines after the March break that lasted six months, Peterborough bulk food expert Amy Lichter is stepping up with some tips and tricks to ease the transition.

Preparation is the key to a successful and stress-free move into back-to-school routines, says Lichter, starting from the grocery shop onward.

“Everyone’s schedule may have changed, but at the end of the day, kids still need healthy, nutritious meals at school, like always,” says Lichter, who is the marketing manager for Sysco Ontario North, as well as a mom of two school-age girls.

Tweaking just a few things in your day-to-day life can go a long way to creating a recipe for success and a system that can be maintained throughout the school year.

 

 

BE PREPARED

While many existing supports like breakfast programs are not currently available in many schools, making sure you have everything your child may need to fuel them through the day becomes vitally important, says Lichter.

Have your freezer stocked with versatile staples that can be used for multiple meals like frozen chicken breasts, ground beef and frozen fruit for smoothies, baking and snacks.

“Then you don’t have a lot of different things, but they are the workhorses of a lot of dishes,” says Lichter.

BE ORGANIZED

When it comes to easy-to-prepare dinners for busy nights full of homework and activities, and kid-friendly lunch options, a little effort can go a long way says Lichter.

She has a simple system of a clipboard with paper next to the family freezer, so a full inventory is always at hand. When something is removed from the freezer, it is removed from the list, making shopping prep a lot easier.

Cutting up fresh vegetables and portioning out other fresh snacks is another easy way to ensure kids have all they need to be packing healthy, balanced lunches for themselves.

HAVE THE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

Lichter recommends investing in a food saver as a way to buy in bulk, then break food down into convenient, meal-sized portions as a way of saving money and time for busy families.

Since teachers and school staff are necessarily going to be more hands-off this year and there is an emphasis on zero-waste lunches, Lichter also recommends that parents carefully consider the storage containers they are sending to school with their kids, particularly for younger children. Lunch planning is also a good time to involve your children in the process, she says, asking them how they would like their lunch divided, based on the number of nutrition breaks during the school day as well as making sure they can comfortably open all the containers being sent in their lunch bag. Always make sure to keep plenty of ice packs and a thermos on hand to ensure your child’s food is being stored safely at the appropriate temperature.

 

MAKE MORE

Always plan for leftovers.

Lichter’s family tries to plan dinners around the potential for leftovers the following day: one big salad a week (taco salad is her family’s favourite) so smaller salads with some extra protein added can double as lunch the following day, or a large slow cooker recipe that can serve an additional lunch, or even second dinner, to maximize time spent preparing healthy meals.

“It’s always thinking ahead,” she says.

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

With two girls, nine and 12 years old, Lichter says allowing them to take the reins provides not only a good learning experience, but also a sense of ownership in what they are eating. She chooses to get her kids involved in cooking one meal a week for the family and packing their own lunches.

“Having them involved, it helps getting them to try new food and new flavours,” she says, adding that the girls pick the recipe, check for all the ingredients and make the meal themselves.

The only rule is that the meal is balanced, including protein and lots of vegetables.

“It really helps them learn new skills and helps support their growing independence,” she says.

Sysco has traditionally been a food service company, but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, has transitioned to also serve individuals and families with Sysco@home.

“We felt we needed a way to help people in the community to safely get the food they need,” says Lichter of the transition while there were some shortages in traditional grocery stores.

Whether it be custom cut meats, fresh produce, freezer and pantry staples or household supplies, customers can now shop online and either have their groceries delivered (within certain areas) or arrange for curbside pickup.

The new program also offers mixed meat and mixed produce boxes as kind of a one-stop-shop for some families.

“You can find enough for a few meals just in one of those boxes,” she adds.