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Summer may be all about letting routines slide, but summer is coming to an end, and that means it is time to go back to school and time to get back on track. September always feels like a new year, it brings renewed focus, we begin to settle in for another year of hard work and we fall back into a regular routine. Even those without children in school, are affected by the feeling of a new beginning that happens in September. This is another chance for all grownups to re-evaluate, change or recharge our routines.

One major part of everyone’s daily routine is mealtime, but with work, school, evening activities, and household chores, life gets hectic and meals suffer. Dinner may end up being whatever you pick up or are able to throw together quickly at the end of the day when you are tired and hungry.

While meal planning can be considered yet another chore to add to your already extensive “to-do list”, this chore should be at the top of your list. There are so many great resources and templates available online to help you and your family plan weekly meals effortlessly.

Wee Watch and Meal Planning

This year in our “Wee Watch Together Wee Can Taste The World” program we focus on food and one of the components is meal planning. Providers and children work together using Canada’s Food Guide and the “My Plate Planner” resources to learn about making healthy choices, how to measure a healthy portion size and how much of each food group they need. Wee Watch children were then asked to draw a picture of a healthy meal.

We also discussed the benefits of taking the time to plan your meals.

  1. You will eat healthier. The number one reason you should plan meals is that it allows you to eat healthier. If you already have a plan, you are less likely to eat out or pick up takeout.
  2. You shop more efficiently. By taking the time to plan your meals, you can also plan your grocery list according to the ingredients you will need, which will allow you to shop more efficiently.
  3. You save money. When you are dining out less and planning and shopping more efficiently, you will naturally save money.
  4. Work together as a family. Involve children in planning and preparing meals. Children will appreciate the meal more, be more willing to try new foods and learn important life skills if they are involved in the meal planning process.

Your child’s nutrition is important; it plays a key role in their development. Children need specific nutrients to thrive and grow which is why Wee Watch Providers are required to plan healthy meals and snacks for children in their care. Providers create their weekly meal plans using resources supplied by Wee Watch; Canada’s Food Guide, a Sample Wee Watch Menu Plan and Wee Watch menu plan template. The menu plan is then displayed in their home so parents can see it daily.

When you are settling back into your daily routines this September, be sure to make time for meal planning, a great family activity that will give you organization, less stress, healthy meals, and will help you save money and waste less food.